There is never a good reason to drive while under the influence of alcohol or other intoxicants. Unfortunately, many drive drunk anyway. In Texas, the average is that around every 20 minutes or so, someone is injured or killed in a vehicular accident involving alcohol. After only one drink, impairment begins. Your gender, body weight, and the amount of alcohol consumed all affect your ability to properly handle a vehicle. After two or three beers within a single hour, you are legally intoxicated. Most people do not know this, though. They feel “fine” after two beers – then they make the hasty decision to get behind the wheel.
Penalties of Driving Drunk
Under Texas law, anyone who is legally intoxicated while driving a motor vehicle can be arrested and charged with Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). To be considered intoxicated, you need to have a .08 BAC (blood or breath alcohol concentration). However, the law also clearly states that an individual is intoxicated if impaired in any manner by alcohol or drug usage, regardless of how high or low their BAC may appear on a standardized test.
Furthermore, both the passenger and driver can be fined a total of $500 for an open container in the vehicle. For more serious DWI cases:
- A fine up to $2,000
- 3 to 180 days spent in jail
- One-year license suspension
- Annual fee of $1,000 to $2,000 to retain driver’s license
- Fine reaching up to $4,000
- 30 days to 1 year in jail
- Two-year suspension of license
- Annual fee of $1,000, $1,500 or $2,000 to retain driver’s license
- $10,000 fine
- 2–10 years in prison
- Loss of license up to 2 years
- Annual fee up to $2,000 to retain driver’s license
Drunk Driving Accidents
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over 37,000 people were killed in traffic collisions in 2017. Of those 37,000 killed, just under 11,000 were due to drunk driving incidents. In each case, the driver had an illegal blood alcohol content level (.08 or higher). Of those accidents, 67% involved a driver with a BAC of .15 or greater. Despite the profound number of drunk driving accidents resulting in death, the NHTSA also announced that after 2 years of significant increases, road collisions were reduced by 2 percent. The organization considers this a victory for traffic safety. But unfortunately, many families and individuals remain affected by drunk driving annually.
Remaining Safe on the Road
If you or someone you know has been drinking, consider safety above all else. Here are a few tips to remain safe – and to get home alive after a night out with friends, family, or coworkers.
- Do not drink and drive (Simple, right?)
- Designate a driver for the evening
- If necessary, call a cab to take you home
- Spend the night where you are, if possible