According to MADD statistics, 1,337 (39.5% of all traffic deaths) people died as a result of drunken driving in Texas in 2013. That number represents a 3.6% increase from 2012.
If you change that number to a rate per 100,000 people, Texas comes in as the state with the 10th highest rate of drunken driving fatalities.
If you’re a numbers person, MADD claims this costs Texas taxpayers $6.2 billion.
The site also claims our legislatures fail to take any action to address this problem.
So it’s pretty clear Texas isn’t doing enough.
Let’s Take a Look at What the Other States Do And Compare That to Texas
At least part of the problem includes how tough laws are on drunk drivers.
In Texas, this is what can happen on your first offense:
- Minimum license suspension of 90 days, and a maximum of 180 days
- You go to jail for at least 3 days and a max of 180 days
- Fines up to $2,000, but they can run up to $10,000 if a minor is present
- A surcharge program requires a payment of $1,000 annually for 3 years. If your BAC is higher than .16, that increases to $2,000
- Your convictions stay on your criminal record and influence sentences in future cases for up to 10 years
Here’s a brief overview of some penalties other states impose:
This state has the toughest DUI laws in the nation. Here’s what they do:
- They’re the only state that requires an IID be installed in your vehicle for a year after your first DUI offense
- Your license can be suspended up to 360 days and you may be in jail for 10 days after your first offense
This state has some of the toughest DUI laws in the nation. You:
- Go to jail for a minimum of 48 hours on your first offense, unless the judge gives you the option to do community service instead
- Sit in jail for at least 30 days if you have a BAC of .16 or more
- Both the DMV and criminal justice system can punish drunk drivers
- The DMV suspends your license for 4 months for a first offense
- If you refuse to submit to a chemical test, your first offense gets you a 1-year license suspension
- If you have a BAC of .05 – .08, you can still get cited for a DUI if your behavior shows you are driving impaired
- If you are convicted of DUI, your license gets suspended for 1 year for the first offense, and 2 years if you are under 21
- An IID gets installed on your first offense, and you must pay the installation fees ($100) and monthly monitoring fees ($110 per month)
Tougher laws definitely help reduce the occurrence of DUI.
But they won’t eliminate the problem – some people will always engage in this behavior.
What do you think Texas should do?