Another Saturday night, another Fort Worth DWI wreck
Three people tragically died in a Fort Worth DWI wreck when a drunk driver of a pickup truck speeding the wrong way crashed into their car on NE Loop 820. A father, mother and their 9-year-old daughter from Dallas died at the scene. The pickup truck driver was helicoptered to a hospital in Fort Worth with life-threatening injuries. He has been charged with three counts of intoxication manslaughter with bond set at $100,000 per death. A lot of good that will do now. When will the next Fort Worth DWI wreck happen and how can we stop it?
Every Fort Worth DWI wreck is 100% preventable
Why? Because a driver is not legally allowed to drink and drive if their blood alcohol content is more than .08% — which it usually is. If he or she has to drink, they can have a designated driver or Uber take them home, or better yet, never leave.
We are clearly not doing enough to stop these tragedies from happening. Last year 618 people died in Texas in a DWI wreck, with 74 of them here in Tarrant and Dallas Counties. One person would be too many.
Texas sadly is #1 in the U.S. in these urgent categories:
- most drunk driving crashes,
- most wrong way crashes, and
- most distracted driving cases.
Although they only represent 3% of motor vehicle collisions, wrong-way crashes are often fatal due to their high speeds and head-on impacts. They are usually caused by an out of control pickup truck drivers crashing into a smaller cars or vehicles.
A study by the National Transportation Safety Board found that almost two-thirds were caused by drunk drivers where BAC’s were typically over .15% (almost two times the legal limit). We have seen cases as high as .27%.
They happen when a driver gets drunk, distracted, or falls asleep at the wheel. The driver enters a highway exit or crosses the median or line separating traffic directions.
Texas has an outdated highway safety system and many poorly lit and designed rural highways that add to the problem.
These warning signs, for example, are highly ineffective. Much better alternatives and technology are available.
We must continue to support Mothers Against Drunk Driving
MADD can help stop a Fort Worth DWI wreck. Since it was founded by the mother of a teen killed in a alcohol-fueled collision 40 years ago, the fatality rate has been cut in half.
This is why Bill Berenson is a top supporter of MADD. He believes it is an effective way to curb drunk driving and make our roads safer.
Unfortunately, as the number of drunk drivers has increased 27%, donations and funding to MADD and all nonprofit organizations have greatly diminished.
There are many problems the world now faces and drunk driving may not seem as important in the chaos. But ask anybody who has lost someone or been injured in one and you will find out that there is a huge groundswell of support for tougher criminal and civil enforcement of our drunk driving laws.
The Texas legislature meets again for its every other year session in January. It must take a serious look at enhancing our statutes and adding money to police departments and courts.
We all want to be able to drive safely and not risk our lives just because a drunk gets behind the wheel and aims his truck at us.
For the past 40 years, Berenson Injury Law has specialized in car, truck, tractor-trailer, motorcycle, bicycle and pedestrian collisions. We have helped many families who lost their loved ones or people who were injured in a Fort Worth DWI wreck like the one that happened here Saturday night.
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