Drunk driving kills nearly 11,100 people in the United States each year. And according to a Centers for Disease Control (CDC) fact sheet, Texans are more likely than the average American to drive after drinking too much. The national average is 1.9%, while the Texas figure is 2.1%. These are self reported figures, based on the last 30 days. When you consider that Texas has 15,879,876 licensed drivers, that means that in the last 30 days, approximately 333,477 people were intoxicated while they were behind the wheel! The figure may actually be higher, since not everyone wants to admit they drive drunk. The Texas Department of Transportation estimates that someone in Texas is injured or killed every 20 minutes because of drunk driving.
Texas also exceeds the national numbers in the rate of deaths per 100.000 people across all age categories. The person most likely to die in a drunk driving accident in Texas is a male between the ages of 21-34. The same can be said nationally, but in Texas, the rate is much higher.
Texas Department of Transportation Breaks It Down
The Texas Department of Transportation (TXDOT) keeps an amazing variety of records on traffic accidents and fatalities, and drunk driving accidents, in particular. Some facts and figures from 2017:
- 1,024 people died in crashes where someone was driving drunk
- Drunk driving fatalities accounted for 28% of the total number of people killed in Texas traffic crashes
- In 2017, more drunk driving accidents were reported between 2:00 am and 2:59 am than at any other time of the day
- More DUI/DWI crashes happen on Sunday
Keep in mind that in 2017, a couple of big holidays were on Sundays, including New Year’s Day and Christmas Eve.
DUI/DWI Fatalities in Texas
Of the 1,024 people killed in drunk driving accidents in 2017, a majority of them were the drunk drivers. From the TXDOT statistics:
- 678 of those who died were DUI drivers
- 137 people who died were passengers of a DUI driver
- 159 people who died were in other vehicles not driven by a DUI driver
- 50 people who were killed by a drunk driver were pedestrians or bicyclists
The state of Texas conducts alcohol blood tests on drivers in fatal accidents as part of the accident investigation.
Preventing Drunk Driving Accidents
There are several ways the state of Texas is trying to reduce the number of drunk driving accidents. These include:
Drunk Driving Laws
Texas has both a DWI and a DUI law. We won’t get into the differences here. The blood alcohol level at which you can be arrested is .08, which is in line with the rest of the United States. Texas also has a zero tolerance law for anyone under the age of 21 who is caught drinking and driving. Even the slightest amount of alcohol in the system of someone under the legal drinking age will result in an arrest.
You can also face a fine for having an open container of alcohol in your vehicle, and face very harsh penalties if you are drinking and driving with a child under the age of 15 in your vehicle. According to TXDOT, you could be fined up to $10,000 and be sentenced to up to two years in jail.
Ignition Interlock Devices
In 2015, Texas joined a number of other states in making ignition interlock devices mandatory for all DUI (alcohol) offenders, including all first offenders. Up until then, first offenders were only required to get the devices installed if their blood alcohol content was .15 or above. Since 2015, Texas drunk driving fatalities have decreased steadily.
Public Awareness Campaigns
TXDOT has a number of public awareness campaigns to highlight the dangers of drunk driving, and to encourage people to plan ahead to avoid driving drunk. Recent campaigns include the “Plan While You Can” series targeting spring break vacationers and holiday drivers; the “Faces of Drunk Driving” video series featuring drunk driving accident victims, their families and the convicted drunk drivers themselves. There is also a campaign targeting drunk driving in the Hispanic community.
No Sobriety Checkpoints in Texas
The state of Texas does not allow law enforcement agencies to conduct sobriety checkpoints.
Anti-drunk driving groups like Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) would like to see Texas change the law and add sobriety checkpoints to their arsenal of ways to prevent drunk driving, and get drunk drivers off the road before they hurt someone.
ALCOLOCK Ignition Interlock Locations in Texas
ALCOLOCK has a number of ignition interlock installation locations in Texas. Mainly in the higher populated areas, including Houston, Dallas, Austin, and San Antonio, but we have other locations as well, and we’re always expanding. All locations are certified by the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), so you can rest assured that your ignition interlock device is in compliance with all state rules and regulations. Call one of our locations to schedule your installation, or use our contact form and someone will get back to you quickly. Our goal is to get you back on the road, and to help you succeed in your restricted driving program.