Citing increasingly concerning statistics regarding DWI arrests and fatal accidents over the past two years, a San Antonio Police Department deputy chief asked Texas legislators to consider establishing permanent DWI checkpoints in areas where DWI arrests and accidents commonly appear. Roughly 24 people have been charged with intoxication manslaughter over the last two years, and over 7,000 DWI arrests have been made this year so far in San Antonio alone.
Most notably, Texas is one of only 12 states without sobriety checkpoints, and is also a state that typically has one of the highest numbers of alcohol-related fatal traffic accidents. In 2010, for instance, 1,259 people died in Texas as a result of the actions of drivers with blood-alcohol levels that exceeded legal limits. This number exceeded even the number of deaths in California in 2010, a state that traditionally has had a higher number of people, drivers, and vehicles.
While safety advocates and law enforcement officials both have pushed for sobriety checkpoints and other safety measures designed to prevent DWI-related accidents and fatalities, some lawmakers and citizens have remained resistant to these actions, citing concerns about privacy and overreaching by the government. This makes some think it unlikely that the Texas legislature will enact legislation permitting checkpoints. While some law enforcement officials have used creative measures to operate checkpoint-like programs, such as the Corpus Christi Police Department, which conducts “driver’s license” checkpoints, at which drivers suspected of intoxication are arrested, official sobriety checkpoints in Texas will remain illegal in the state of Texas until the legislature acts to make them legal.
By enacting and implementing all available safety measures designed to protect against intoxicated drivers, the Texas legislature and law enforcement officials may be able to help reduce the number of injuries and fatalities that annually occur on Texas roadways. Without these measures, catastrophic accidents are likely to continue to occur.
If you or a loved one has been involved in an accident leading to injuries or death, you should immediately contact a skilled Texas personal injury lawyer for help.