There’s No Excuse for Drinking and Driving
Those of us who have been working for many years to reduce drunk driving in Texas have heard just about every excuse in the book as to why people drink and drive. Many don’t realize how little alcohol it takes to affect their judgment and reaction time and they think they’re ok to drive. Some say they aren’t going very far. Others don’t want to pay for a cab. Too many say they’ve always made it home before without a problem.
All of these are just excuses – and they won’t work if you use them when a law enforcement officer pulls you over on suspicion of driving while intoxicated. They also are no consolation to the family of someone killed or injured by a drunk driver.
According to preliminary tallies, we lost 955 Texans to drunk driving last year, and another 17,500 were injured in alcohol-related crashes. These people and their families are the reason the Texas Department of Transportation and the Texas Department of Public Safety are determined to spread this message: there is absolutely no excuse for drinking and driving.
Earlier this month, TxDOT launched the annual statewide “Drink. Drive. Go to Jail” campaign to get drunk drivers off Texas streets and highways. TxDOT is working to educate Texans about their alternatives to driving after drinking. There are many options: calling a cab, designating a sober driver ahead of time, using public transportation, staying put, calling a friend or family member for a ride, and more.
Texas DPS troopers and local police officers around Texas are also going above and beyond to put a stop to impaired driving. You will notice an increased law enforcement presence out on the roads beginning August 20th through the Labor Day weekend. Officers all across the Lone Star State will be working overtime to spot and arrest anyone who gets behind the wheel after drinking. Last year during the two-week crackdown, officers throughout Texas worked a combined total of nearly 18,000 hours specifically looking for impaired drivers.
A DWI arrest and conviction has serious consequences. Convicted first-time DWI offenders can pay a fine of up to $2,000, lose their driver’s license for up to a year, and serve up to 180 days in jail. Other costs associated with an impaired driving arrest and conviction can add up to more than $17,000 for bail, legal fees, court appearances, court-ordered classes, vehicle insurance increases, and other expenses. A DWI conviction can even disqualify you from being able to get certain kinds of jobs. Is it really worth risking all that—or worse, risking your life someone else’s?
Texans have many choices for how to get home after a few drinks. If you fail to make the right choice, thousands of state troopers, local police officers, and sheriff’s deputies will be out in force to arrest you, and if you’re caught drinking and driving in Texas, you will go to jail.
Choose your ride carefully. Will it be a squad car or a sober driver?
-Colonel Steve McCraw, Texas Department of Public Safety
- 2011 TxDOT Drink. Drive. Go To Jail. Campaign
- Message from CTIA and the National Safety Council
- Click It or Ticket!
- Shots Fired As Driver Rams Local Deputy’s Patrol Car
- Specialty Plate e-View from The Texas Department of Motor Vehicles