|DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED|
|According to the Texas Department of Public Safety statistics for the year 2000, the facts on alcohol-related fatalities can be quite sobering.|
· There were 1,047 persons killed on Texas roadways in the year 2000 in crashes where alcohol was a contributing factor.
· Based on the year 2000 statistics, someone is injured every 20 minutes, 46 seconds in an alcohol related collision.
|· During 2000, 27.7 % of all traffic fatalities were reported to have been alcohol-related. This is a decrease of 4.9% from 1999. |
· Of the drivers killed in fatal accidents in Texas in the year 2000, 42% of those tested had some alcohol or drug in their system.
In Texas, a DWI is a serious offense, and if you accidentally kill someone while intoxicated, it is a felony offense:
· First offense (Class B misdemeanor): fine of up to $2,000, jail term of 3 days to six months, license suspension from three months to one year.
|· Second offense (Class A misdemeanor): fine of up to $4,000, minimum jail term of 30 days and up to one year, license suspension from six months to two years. If a second DWI conviction takes place within five years, there is a minimum one-year driver license suspension.|
· Third offense or intoxication assault (third degree felony): fine of up to $10,000, penitentiary term of two to 10 years, license suspension of six months to two years.
|NHTSA 2002 figures show that, despite the tireless efforts of thousands of advocates, impaired drivers--due to the effects of alcohol or other drugs--continue to kill someone every 30 minutes, nearly 50 people a day, and almost 18,000 citizens a year. |
From the most recent research, it is more clear than ever that, overall, young drivers, and especially young White males, account for a large share of the alcohol-crash problem. In fact, a fatal DWI collision has the highest probability of occurring on a U.S. or State rural route between 2:00 and 2:59 a.m. and will most likely involve a male driver, age 21.
|Nationally, according to NHTSA 2002 research, alcohol involvement in crashes is 3.5 times higher at night and higher on weekends. Between midnight to 3 a.m., 78 percent of speeding drivers involved in fatal crashes have been drinking.|
|The findings for the NHTSA 2001 survey administration indicate that despite the public's continued concern about drinking and driving, and despite the increase in "zero tolerance" laws for DWI such as those here in Texas, progress in a number of key areas has slowed. Based on the 2001 survey findings, we now know that: |
· fewer people believe that drinking and driving by others is a major threat to their personal safety;
· more drivers are driving within two hours of drinking;
· about the same number of persons put themselves at risk by riding with a potentially impaired driver;
|· fewer drivers fear being stopped for violating drinking and driving laws, with approximately 40% saying such a stop is unlikely. |
And to add to the bad news, drivers who have been drinking use safety belts at a substantially lower rate than sober drivers, another contributing factor to the severity of alcohol-related crashes. In fact, DWI, speeding and safety belt or safety seat violations continue to be the primary contributing factors in a majority of traffic fatalities in Texas.
|All states now have a uniform legal drinking age of 21 years. Although the age of accountability has gone up over the years—from 18 to 19, and then from 19 to 21 years of age—still, alcohol involvement in crashes is highest among men ages 21 to 40. |