DWI Repeat Offenders Are Serious Problem In North Texas

madd_1-246x300Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), a group I heartily support, has calculated that one-third of intoxicated drivers arrested are repeat offenders. So consider what has happened here in the last few days:

Yesterday an intoxicated driver who fled a Tarrant County Sheriff at over 100 m.p.h. was sentenced to 14 years in jail. The 32-year-old man plead guilty in Weatherford after he crashed into another vehicle and fled the scene. His blood alcohol limit was more than two times the legal limit of .08%.

And on Wednesday night at 11:00 p.m., a drunk driver in a SUV crashed into two construction workers protected by a giant truck with flashing neon arrows. They were repairing Stemmons Freeway near Inwood Road in Dallas. The drunk kept driving, of course. Police arrested the 33-year-old man miles away and charged him with intoxication assault. The two construction workers were rushed to Parkland Hospital with serious injuries.
I blogged about how a Weatherford man was sentenced to life in prison after his 12th DWI conviction and a Houston man was jailed for life after his ninth one.

Since here in Tarrant and Dallas Counties there are more than 3,000 collisions each year caused by intoxicated drivers, we have to get them off of our roads.
Drunk drivers should not be allowed to drive – especially repeat offenders
MADD estimates that we Texas taxpayers subsidize a whopping $6.2 billion each year in general DWI crash expenses like JPS and Parkland Hospitals, police, ambulances, etc. NHTSA calculates U.S. taypayers spend over $200 billion, excluding the victims’ often enormous losses and expenditures. MADD has testified strongly to prevent these criminals from being able to continue driving.

But Texas is one of the only states that does not require the permanent revocation of a repeat offender’s driver’s license. We only temporarily suspend it up to two years. Note that many states yank the license permanently, including North Carolina and New York after the third offense, and Florida after a manslaughter conviction.

OK, it’s doubtful that this alone would stop them from driving. Up to 70% of offenders drive with a suspended license said Troy Walden, a Texas A&M expert on the subject.  He agrees with MADD that ignition interlocks are the best prevention.

Interlocks are supposed to keep these offenders from driving

In 2015 our legislature finally got around to enacting an ignition interlocks device law. MADD had been trying to pass this law for over 10 years. First time DWI offenders can now allow the device to be installed in their vehicle and get an occupational drivers license allowing him to drive to work, school, doctors, and other essential destinations. All 50 states now have some form of interlock required use, with 15 making the device mandatory for any offense. The devices are highly effective.

We advocate for stronger DWI enforcement and penalties 

Berenson Injury Law is an experienced personal injury law firm that has helped Dallas-Fort Worth accident victims for the past 36 years. As one of the few MADD-approved attorneys, I represent many injured victims. I have seen the horrific injuries DWI crashes cause. We support MADD and are constantly advocating for tougher DWI laws and compensation for victims. Please contact my office if you need assistance.

 

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