Drunk driving claims too many victims. Not only are those in the vehicles at risk, but so too are their loved ones, family and friends, who can suffer irreversible damage. Then come the financial problems that develop from a DWI. Between fines, an ignition interlock device, vehicle towing, bail bonds, attorney fees, court costs and more, a Texas DWI charge could cost anywhere from $5,000 to $20,000 depending on location and severity of the DWI.
Out of the different victims in a Texas DWI incident, the person most at risk is the intoxicated driver.
In 2015, Texas Department of Transportation (TDoT) reported that the majority of fatalities related to the state’s DWIs affected the driver. Passengers, pedestrians or other non-drivers weren’t victims at the same rate; out of 960 cases of DWI-related incidents, 639 (Two-thirds) of the fatalities were the DUI drivers themselves, followed by the passengers of the DUI drivers, 154, people in other vehicles, 124 and pedestrians, 43.
Currently, all Texas DWI offenders to access ignition interlocks, and requires the devices for the majority of offenders. That, however, doesn’t help until after a first-offense DWI. According to MADD (Mothers Against Drunk Driving), an average drunk driver has driven while intoxicated over 80 times before their first arrest. Statistically, people drive drunk more than 300,000 times per day, but only about 3,200 are arrested.
Perhaps the recent ignition interlock expansion in Texas will be a positive step toward lowering the rate of DWI fatalities in the state, as well as injuries, loss of wages and property damage. Until those numbers are in, let’s all continue to do our part and provide a safe ride home, or plan for our own safety after a night out drinking. The decisions we make can have an impact on us (or others) for the rest of our lives. Our lives and lives of others matter.