A large part of understanding the problem with drunk driving is realizing that a DWI is a fully preventable crime. Nobody ever sets out to drink and drive, but, since it still happens, we need ways to keep the damage to a minimum and maybe educate others in the process. For example, while Texas has a high number of drunk driving incidents, until recently, it did not have an all-offender car breathalyzer or ignition interlock law. Now that Texas has that in place, the results will show great results for pro-active drunk driving prevention, but not until AFTER an offender has been convicted of the crime.
Unfortunately, getting a DWI conviction and an ignition interlock still means there was an intoxicated driver on the road. That’s where other DWI prevention methods help increase the use of ignition interlock devices, such as sobriety checkpoints and “no refusal” weekends.
Currently, Texas does not host sobriety checkpoints, a highly recommended solution for drunk driving prevention by M.A.D.D. and the NHTSA. Sobriety checkpoints allow DWI screening by law enforcement without “probable cause.” You just drive through, and if selected, you go through the question and answer process. If you don’t seem intoxicated or otherwise suspicious, you get to keep rolling through the checkpoint. If you have had too much to drink, however, you will be detained and arrested. Catching DWI offenders may be the goal, but, the idea of these checkpoints is a sobering thought for many, thereby helping to keep the streets safe, especially considering the additional threat of “no refusal” weekends that Texas does allow.
Sobriety checkpoints can make people think twice about risking a borderline BAC on the road, and the idea of a “no refusal” policy is enough to scare anyone sober. Plus, all of that can lead to a DWI conviction and an ignition interlock device for many months to come. Sobriety checkpoints may not be part of drunk driving prevention in Texas, but, they can work to create safer streets across the state before a would-be offender even makes a risky choice to drink and drive.