Preventing DWI’S In Texas
Written by Greg on June 20, 2014
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, each day approximately 30 individuals in the United States die from a crash that involves one driver under the influence of alcohol. This figure indicates that one death will occur every 48 minutes at a cost of $51 billion annually in alcohol-related crashes. This statistic not only raises alarms at the number of deaths that can prevented, but also of the nature of protecting the innocent against those who use poor judgment when drinking.
Through the advocacy of organizations such as Mothers against Drunk Driving (MADD) as well as a push to punish current offenders and cut down on potential offenders, new insight has been drawn on the potential to prevent the number of DWI’s that are seen overall. Many of these preventive steps can be seen in three unique areas:
Some of these technological advances would include an advanced breathalyzer test that would not only take into account the person’s BAC, or blood alcohol content, but also their weight, muscle mass, etc. for a more accurate reading. Moreover, these advanced testers would also use a touch-based system that would measure BAC level through skin as well as measure eye-movement, which would be more beneficial than on-sight testing such as a line test.
Other technological advances include new ignition locks that would proactively check the BAC level of an individual before he or she started the car. If the BAC level was measured to be over the legal limit, then the car would not start or would automatically shut off. Should the driver attempt to drive the car anyway, some systems would include an additional alarm system that will honk, flash lights, or otherwise get the attention of police. This is extremely ideal as it not only prevents the drunk driver from potentially harming other drivers, but it also cuts policing and enforcement costs.
Law Enforcement Presence
There remains little doubt that one of the most preventive ways to stop DWI’s from occurring is to increase police protection on roadways. By simply increasing the number of law enforcement agents on the streets, the number of DWI’s drop automatically as drunk drivers would be more likely to be spotted and taken in, preventing accidents from occurring. This is more essential around holidays, when the increase of alcohol related crashes occur.
Another idea, presented by the DUI foundation, is to have sobriety checkpoints that would essentially measure one’s BAC level at heavily trafficked areas where accidents are more likely to occur. Many people in Texas oppose checkpoints, however, it has proven extremely effective in preventing drunk driving when used.
Although, many of these factors are highly dependent on outside agencies, such as the decisions that are made by governmental intervention, there are some things that the layperson can do. Other than being conscious about one’s own drinking and the decision not to operate a motor vehicle or choosing a designated driver, one can also lobby for change. Many of these reform measures are dependent on legislation changing and that can only possible through advocacy groups and one’s personal vote.
Holding Bars and Clubs Accountable- Amending Texas Dram Shop Act
Another way to reduce DUI accidents in Texas is to revise the laws to make holding bars or clubs that over-serve customers more accountable for the damages caused by the drunk driver. Texas has a Dram Shop Act but it places a heavy burden on the plaintiff and offers certain safe harbor defenses for the alcohol provider. If the bar had a better incentive to monitor how many drinks are severed a customer, there is no doubt that Texas would not lose as many life’s to drunk drivers.