Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), Houston has scary statistics for DUIs and DWIs in Houston. The website states that there is a DUI death every 45 minutes in the area. Approximately one-third of the drivers were repeat offenders.
More than 70% of these offenders who caused the DUI incidents managed to get off with the least penalties. These lax laws have resulted in a huge financial, legal, and personal load on Houston’s infrastructure. Houston authorities, police personnel, and prosecutors are fed up of dealing with repeat DUI offenders and they’ve decided to do something about it.
The Impaired Driver Enforcement Initiative
This program has been around since 2013 and has proved to be very effective in cutting down DUIs and DWIs in the area. Harris County in Houston, Texas was literally the DUI capital of America a few years back. However, the strict measures set up by local authorities started showing results. For example, the NO REFUSAL campaign proved to be very effective in cutting down repeat offenders.
According to the campaign, drivers who were pulled over had to cooperate with police officers when they asked for a breath or blood sample. In case the driver refused the request, police personnel could legally collect the sample by transferring the driver to a mobile testing center. Blood would be drawn on the spot and processed immediately for testing BAC levels.
The program was run three times in 2013 and proved surprisingly effective in controlling first-time offenders and repeat DUIs. The only problem was that the actual time for processing and verifying a drunk driver took anywhere from two hours to six hours. Nonetheless, the program brought down DUI statistics considerably. The state also set up numerous patrols along highways and accident-prone areas to prevent problems. The program did run into a few problems with the Supreme Court. According to a ruling, the court prevented local officials from drawing blood from drivers since it violated their rights.
Nonetheless, Houston truck accident attorneys have noted that local DUIs and DWIs have decreased. As the program was so popular, local authorities are planning to implement the program again in 2014. The crackdown on drinking and driving during the July 4th weekend resulted in the arrest and conviction of more than 200 people. With the success of the program, local authorities are trying to make the “No Refusal” policy permanent.
Tourists by the Thousands
The fantastic news is that they will now be able to do so. The city has been granted a $450,000 grant to hire personnel and facilities to make the No Refusal program successful. The grant was released in October 2014, just in time for the popular Renaissance Festival. The Festival sees thousands of tourists from all over the country and accidents are common.
A DUI Conveyer Belt
Unfortunately for them, drinking and driving will result in an immediate arrest in the city. The city has already set up the mobile testing center, nurses, prosecutors, and investigators to help process DUIs immediately. The program will also ensure that sufficient evidence is found and recorded to convict first time or repeat DUI offenders.