Unfortunately, Texas is one of the worst states in the United States for motorists who are injured or killed in alcohol-related crashes. In fact, in 2013, Texas had the unfortunate distinction of leading the nation in the number of deaths caused by drunk drivers with 1,337 deaths. This number represented 39.5% of all total traffic deaths in Texas, which was a 3.6% increase from the previous year. Fortunately, the number of deaths in 2014 dropped down slightly to 1,014.
In addition, every year there are thousands of alcohol-related crashes. In 2013 alone, there were more than 25,000 alcohol-related crashes that involved the driver having a blood alcohol concentration of .01 or higher. In Texas, legally intoxicated is defined as having a BAC of .08 or higher. Further, these more than 25,000 alcohol-related crashes caused 15,687 injuries.
These numbers clearly show that alcohol-related crashes are a serious problem in Texas. These crashes needlessly lead to tragic deaths and injury for innocent victims. One way that Texas tries to reduce the number of alcohol-related crashes is through vigilant enforcement. In 2013, there were 99,915 DWI arrests, which resulted in 71,030 convictions.
Enforcement alone, however, is not the sole answer to preventing alcohol-related crashes. Other methods include harsher penalties and increased legislation, such as requiring ignition interlock devices for all convicted drivers. Other contributing factors to consider include the lack of viable public transportation in the most densely populated areas of Texas like Houston, Austin, Dallas, Fort Worth, and San Antonio. Ultimately, the responsibility falls on the driver to avoid driving while intoxicated and to take the proper precautions while driving.
Houston has the highest rate of drunk driving fatalities than any other city in the state. According to the Houston Chronicle “in 2013, about 13,000 people – half of all Harris County probationers – were on supervision for a misdemeanor driving-while-intoxicated conviction.” With facts like that it’s hardly surprising that DWIs are so prevalent in the city of Houston and the state.