Texas advocacy targets public opinion about drunk driving

According to a local advocacy group, the high number of drunk driving accidents in Houston and across the state of Texas is not due to lenient laws or lax enforcement efforts. Rather, the group attributes widespread lenient attitudes toward driving while intoxicated as the primary culprit.

Although many different types of accidents might result in fatal injuries, DWI is a significant contributor. Nationwide, DWI crashes comprise 30% of all accident fatalities. In Texas, however, that portion rises to 40 percent.

Local enforcement officials have stepped up their efforts in several ways. With Houston DWI checkpoints, officials might stop every motor vehicle in an area located near nightlife or that has a history of alcohol-impaired driving offenders. Another recent tactic is no refusal zones, where officials might have an expedited process for obtaining breath or blood testing of suspected drunk drivers.

State DWI laws have also increased in severity. Even a first time offense, which is typically a misdemeanor, might be accompanied by a license suspension for many months and a substantial fine. Penalties may be even higher for a drunk driver with a blood alcohol level of .15 or higher, or whose impaired driving resulted in serious or fatal injury to a victim.

On both fronts, the numbers suggest that attitudes toward drunk driving might be changing. In addition to a record level of arrests, more members of the public have been made informed about prevention efforts — as well as Houston’s reputation as the DWI capital in the nation. Needless to say, such aggressive enforcement and prosecutorial efforts might require an experienced Houston DWI defense attorney, in the event a driver is confronted with DWI charges.

Source: khou.com, “It’s families losing the most as Texas leads nation in DWI deaths,” Freddy Hunt, May 3, 2013

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