Fatal DWI Crashes On Fourth of July: A Serious Problem

Described as “the most dangerous holiday of the year,” a whopping 164 people died last year in alcohol-related crashes on the Fourth of July. That’s insane.

Let’s hope this holiday isn’t as deadly.

Texas police out in force this weekend

A driver with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher is presumed impaired. By refusing to blow, the driver eliminates this valuable evidence. Although prosecutors can still prove the driver was drunk without a breath sample, the task is much more difficult.

This is a “no refusal” weekend. Drivers have no choice and judges are standing by to issue quick warrants for any driver who refuses to submit to the breathalyzer test.

U.S. Supreme Court decision last week uphold this process just in time for the holiday. The Court ruled that officers don’t need a warrant to collect a breath sample and can collect a blood sample upon obtaining a warrant.

Prepare to see DWI checkpoints throughout the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Coupled with the no-refusal enforcement, Texas police have powerful tools to keep drunk drivers off the road. That’s good news.

Keeping Texas roads safe this holiday

Police are also stepping up enforcement of other safety laws. During last year’s Fourth of July weekend, Texas Department of Public Safety officers:

  • Arrested 496 drivers for drunk driving
  • Cited 7,211 drivers for speeding
  • Issued 1,156 seat belt and child safety seat citations
  • Gave tickets to 1,007 drivers with no insurance
  • Made 268 fugitive arrests and 187 felony arrests

Too bad we can’t have this level of law enforcement year round. We could effectively diminish drunk and unsafe driving in Texas if drivers feared being randomly pulled over.

It’s a shame that 960 Texans were killed in drunk driving auto crashes in 2015, which is equal to 27 percent of all traffic deaths last year. By eliminating alcohol as a factor, Texas could reduce drunk driving by more than one-fourth.

Enjoy the Fourth of July holiday

July Fourth is a festive celebration. But alcohol and drugs can ruin the holiday with a DUI, car crash or worse.

Here are some tips for staying safe this Fourth of July:

  • Don’t drink until you have a designated sober driver lined up.
  • Have a taxi or car service already entered in your cell phone’s contact list.
  • Step in if your friend or family member has had too much to drink.
  • Stay off the roads post-fireworks and after bars close when the number of drunk drivers surges.

Enjoy your holiday!

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