URGENT: Tell Your State Reps to Support These Critical DWI Laws

Do you ever wonder what you can do personally to stop drunk drivers in Texas? One of the easiest ways is also one of the most effective: urge your local representatives to support DWI bills. They are heavily influenced by the opinions of their constituents. After all, they only have their job because of your vote. So make them work for you.

Three important bills — HB 2089, SB 664 and SB 761— that are scheduled for this legislative session would be incredibly effective deterrents to repeat drunk driving.

The two Texas Senate bills are scheduled for a hearing today so click to take action now. It will only take you a minute to make your voice heard. The link above connects to a letter drafted by the wonderful advocacy organization and one of my favorite causes, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). 

What HB 2089, SB 664 and SB 761 Say

Deferred adjudication is a form of probation that focuses on treatment and prevention, rather than punishment. Currently, deferred adjudication is not available for a DWI charge in Texas.

HB 2089, SB 664 and SB 761 would permit a first time drunk driver to enter a deferred adjudication program. Upon completing terms ordered by the court, the DWI would no longer appear on the driver’s record.

If this seems like going easy on drunk drivers, the inclusion of an ignition interlock device mandate makes this option a powerful tool for reducing repeat offenses.

The ignition interlock device is one of the best mechanisms for reducing drunk driving. The machine is also unpopular with drunks. They can currently avoid installation of the inconvenient device during plea bargaining in their criminal trials. But not any more, if these bills pass as introduced.

However MADD cautions that the ignition interlock device is a crucial element of the bill. Thus, urge lawmakers to oppose any amendment to the bill that would make an ignition interlock device an option instead of a mandate.

Why an Ignition Interlock Device is an Effective Drunk Driving Deterrent

The ignition interlock device is a small machine, about the size of a cell phone, that attaches to a vehicle’s ignition system. To start the vehicle, the driver must blow into a tube. If the device measures a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 or higher, the car won’t start.

As part of any plea bargained sentence, the judge orders the defendant not to drive drunk. But, the frustrating reality is that many first time offenders drive –drunk again – – until they get caught again. License suspension alone is not adequate. A whopping 50 to 75 percent of people convicted of a DWI still continue to drive on a suspended license.

With the ignition interlock device installed, the driver will no longer be able to drive if intoxicated. Problem solved.

The evidence shows that ignition interlock devices work. MADD points out that the mechanism has stopped more than 244,000 Texans who attempted to drive with a BAC of .08 or higher over the past decade.

That equals 240,000 potential accidents avoided and untold injuries and deaths that would have likely occurred.

Please call now! Our lives depend on it.


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