Texas has been working on its DWI laws, showing less and less tolerance for the crime, especially when it comes to car breathalyzers (ignition interlock devices). The state recently enacted new legislature that allows a first-time DWI offender the ability to reinstate their license, as long as there is an ignition interlock in place while they drive. Unfortunately, the new law was passed much too late to help change the fate of this family of three who was killed by a habitual Texas DWI offender. Instead, it serves as perhaps the most important reason to require the devices for all DWI offenders in the state.
When a person is convicted of drunk driving, they’ve driven while intoxicated an estimated 80 times previously. In the case of the Texas DWI that ended in three murder charges, the suspect had already served time for a DWI and had not learned his lesson. The man also had warrants out for his arrest for a DWI that happened before the one that ended the lives of the Texas family. Had an ignition interlock been required, installed and properly monitored after his release from prison for the first Texas DWI, the second DWI and third drunk driving tragedy could have been avoided. Instead, lives are destroyed and the offender faces a long road ahead, one that’s mapped out in a prison, that is.
At the end of the day, we know that ignition interlocks are a solution for repeat drunk driving offenses. However, the devices only work when they’re being used, and that responsibility starts with the court system and state legislature. Tragic stories like this are reminders of why it is important for these laws to strengthen, and for each of us to think about our own choices when it comes to driving while intoxicated.