Should Texas DWI BAC be reduced to 0.05?
Back in May, 2013, an interesting article came out about the National Transportation Safety Board wanting to reduce the minimum BAC allowed for DWI charges to be reduced from 0.08 to 0.05. According to the article, Drunk Driving deaths account for 1/3 of all road deaths in the United States. It is a huge problem in Texas.
The article also predicts that the reduction would save 500-800 lives annually.
What else does the board want?
– They want to yank drivers licenses faster, and
– Require first time offenders to install Ignition Interlock Devices on their vehicles.
So what does all of this mean? As someone that talks to those charged with DWIs almost on a daily basis, I will tell you what I think it will ultimately mean. It will mean those charged with a DWI will have yet another hurdle to getting their life back on track after such a charge. Having seen people charged with 1st, 2nd, 3rd, and more DWIs, it is obvious that we should take a different approach to dealing with those charged with DWIs. No matter if the limit is 0.15, 0.10, 0.08, or 0.05, it does not address the underlying problem. Not everyone who is charged with a DWI is an alcoholic. I would imagine that the real goal is to prevent anyone from driving drunk, and especially those that would reoffend. But how?
It is this humble attorney’s opinion that more should be done with providing free therapy to those charged with a DWI. Maybe make more DWI education required for those convicted. Quality therapy would hopefully bring those with more serious alcohol problems to address those problems in a meaningful way. It may be a shock to some that alcohol therapy is not offered or required of everyone, no matter if they are convicted or not. The poor, and some of the well-off who are advised so, never receive any type of therapy. The poor don’t have the money to pay for it, and often times the well-off cannot afford the time. If the classes were free and mandatory, this would fix both of those problems.
Instead of advocating legislation that only serves to have these agencies be able to say that they are “tough on drunk driving”, how about looking for solutions that really work. How about assembling a committee of probation officers, law makers, prosecutors, judges, and defense attorneys? That group of professionals deal with those charged with DWIs on a daily basis, and they might know a little about the needs of that segment of people.