With more options available than ever for finding a safe ride home, we can feel better about making plans to head out for fun times with friends. Uber, Lyft and other rideshare services are as common as taxis these days, and we trust that those companies are just as vigilant about screening drivers for DWI as the court would be. You know, like the Lyft driver who was recently arrested for drunk driving with a passenger in the car.
Technically, Texas has no lookback period for DWI convictions. That means that a person who was convicted of drinking and driving 30 years ago can be considered a two-time offender if they are ever caught in the act again. They will face additional penalties for that subsequent conviction, including higher fines, possible jail time and a car breathalyzer or ignition interlock requirement. Texas keeps track of the convictions for good reason – to keep the streets safe.
Under the current laws in Texas, eventually a DWI offender is considered rehabilitated and is able to drive without an ignition interlock device or any other restrictions. Most offenders go on to lead responsible lives. While others continue to repeat their bad choices, putting us at risk on the roads, even as they are paid to be our sober ride home.
Hopefully, rideshare companies will begin to place more emphasis on safety of passengers when they do their contractor screenings, perhaps with lookback policies that reflect state laws. While many DWI offenders move past their conviction (especially when an ignition interlock device was mandated), there will always be exceptions to that rule. For those of you looking for a safe ride home, you may have more choices than ever – just be sure to do some screening of your own. If your driver seems “off” or intoxicated, trust your gut and find a better, even safer way home.