Texas Repeats Its #1 Status In DWI Deaths
Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) released its annual Report to the Nation to rate each state’s DUI-prevention laws and to highlight MADD’s proposals for effective legislation. The report is based upon 2013 statistics, including numbers of DUI fatalities and advances in legislative actions.
In past years, Texas has been #1 in DUI deaths. I had hoped that we would fall in the ranks this year. But, sadly, we are number one again. 1,337 people died in Texas drunk driving accidents in 2013. And despite our extraordinary death rate, Texas lawmakers have done little — if anything — to curb drunk driving in our state.
Texas Rated Dismal Three Out of Five Stars
MADD assigns a star for every policy the state adopts of its five priority DUI prevention strategies. Texas remains at three stars for
its laws governing administrative license revocation, child endangerment and no refusals. MADD claims Texas could prevent additional DUI deaths
and injuries through legislation in support of interlock devices and
DUI Laws that Make a Difference
MADD advocates for laws that can truly impact the numbers of DUI
deaths and injuries in this country, including these priority policies:
- License revocation: The arresting officer takes a
drunk driver’s license at the time of arrest, which reduces DUI-related
deaths by approximately nine percent. But, except in the most egregious
cases, the driver typically receives a hardship license containing
geographic and time restrictions. MADD advocates for installation of an
interlock device as a condition of hardship reinstatement.
- Interlock device installation: Texas does not currently have a law that requires installation of interlock devices
by first time DUI offenders, but we should. Currently 24 states require fist time convicted DUI offenders install the device for six months and often longer for repeat offenders.
- Child endangerment: MADD recognizes that
driving drunk with a child in the vehicle is abuse and advocates for
appropriate charges and punishments to fit the crime.
- No refusal programs: Very often, the
prosecutor’s best evidence is the Breathalyzer test results. But, savvy
offenders simply refuse to submit to breath or blood tests despite
automatic driver’s licenses suspension. During a no refusal program,
judges issue warrants 24/7 in a streamlined process, allowing law
enforcement to collect the samples without consent.
- Sobriety checkpoints: 38 states and Washington, DC permit sobriety checkpoints,
which MADD estimates reduces drunk driving deaths by 20 percent. This
high-visibility tactic not only pulls drunk drivers off the road, but
also alerts drivers of the risk of arrest and thereby acts as a
deterrent. Unfortunately, Texas has not yet passed legislation
implementing effective sobriety checkpoint policies.
Support DUI-Prevention Statutes in Texas
Berenson Law Firm handles numerous DWI and DUI injury claims in our Dallas-Fort
Worth auto accident practice. I personally look forward to the day when DUI accidents no longer happen. We can reach that day by pushing our lawmakers to pass stricter legislation.
If you or your loved one suffered injuries in a DWI crash, contact our
office for a free case evaluation at 817-885-8000 or toll free at
888-801-8585. We are here to help you.