Law enforcement officers throughout Texas, including those in San Antonio and Bexar County, has been ramping up their efforts all month to make this the safest holiday season in history. For at least the next week, officers statewide will be working a lot of extra hours to combat drunk driving, reckless driving, speeding and distracted driving. That is because Texas is participating in the annual national enforcement crackdown sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), and police departments statewide and nationwide have teamed up with them to make the initiative a success.
Drive Drunk and Expect Arrest
What that means to drivers is, if any police officer or sheriff’s deputy suspects you have been drinking and seem impaired, you’ll be pulled over. Thanks to a grant from TxDOT, all departments will have extra officers on the street during the holiday season. That means your chances of getting pulled over and arrested will be much greater than at any other time of the year. However, getting pulled over is just the beginning. In addition to jail time, drivers arrested for driving while intoxicated (DWI) can face fines, fees, and associated costs that can amount to more than $17,000.
In Texas, the legal limit for intoxication is .08 BAC (blood or breath alcohol concentration), but anytime a law enforcement officer has probable cause based on the driver’s behavior, many drivers can be arrested with a BAC below that level.
Experts advise against making even one bad decision that could ruin the rest of your life or the life of someone else. They suggest that anyone planning to drink should make a plan for a sober ride home even before they leave the house. Even if you for a sober ride home before you ever leave the house for your holiday festivities. And do not press your luck; just because you may have successfully driven under the influence back in your deep, dark past doesn’t mean that’s how your luck will always turn out. This time, it could end up with a jail term or worse, like a death.
TxDOT Holiday Safe Driving Campaign
As part of their campaign to cut down on drunk driving during the holidays, the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) has embarked on a campaign to encourage Texas drivers to give a sober ride as a gift this holiday season. Such a gift is one that could save the life of a loved one, while also protecting yourself from the myriad legal and financial problems that can always result from drinking and driving. The consequences of getting a DUI can be devastating, even if you luck out and don’t hit another vehicle.
NHTSA statistics show that the last month of the year is usually the deadliest of the year in Texas. There were 3,722 total crashes in Texas during December and 1,468 of those were DWI-related,. The country as a whole saw a drop of 6.6 percent from the previous year, while the state of Texas saw a drop of 8.9 percent in DWI fatalities. A NHTSA study shows that the average DWI-related accident involves a male driver in their early 2os. A majority of fatal DWI crashes also happen at night in urban areas.
Overall, while the drop in fatalities is encouraging, TxDOT and police officials note there is still a lot of work to do. They hope the higher law enforcement visibility will serve as a deterrent for drivers thinking about making a bad decision. They also note that eliminating crashes will require hard work by the people at large, which is why they are encouraging everyone to make plans to avoid drinking and driving.