Texas leads nation in number of drunken driving deaths
By Ian Lye
Tuesday, August 21, 2007
WASHINGTON � Texas led the country in the number of drunken driving fatalities last year, statistics released Monday by the U.S. Department of Transportation show.
The state had 1,354 drunken driving deaths last year, up 34 from 2005.
[Anyone think this will convince the Leg to legislate mandatory breath/blood samples upon a DWI arrest?]
Perhaps if the families and friends of all those who lost their lives to drunk drivers spent a day in Austin talking to legislators that might happen. I wish the statistics weren't always two years old.
Males leads nation in number of drunken driving deaths. From the report:
Anyone think this will convince the Leg to revoke the driving privileges of all male citizens? They are clearly a risk to public safety!
On a more serious note, these numbers are also somewhat influenced by population density. The more spread-out the people, the more miles each drunk driver must cover to get home.
Texas had 1 fatality involving a driver with .08+ BAC per 17,361 people.
New Mexico, which is less dense had 1 per 14,372 people.
Wyoming, which has almost no people, had 1 per 7,686 people.
On the other hand, New York where, one would guess, a good number of drunks could walk or ride a subway home... they have only 1 per 48,630 people.
The stats are here:
That's a good point, although it raises another issue.
Does anyone have any statistics on the rate of testing in states with criminalized BTR as opposed to states that don't? It would be interesting to know whether making the BTR a crime actually increases the number of tests taken by a significant amount.
The key is not the total number of deaths or injuries. After all, Texas is No. 2 in population, so it should be at the top of the total numbers stats. How do we compare in the rate of alcohol related car crash deaths per 1000 population? Injuries? The key to change is to show we have the highest rates, or rates that compare unfavorably to States like Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana, Nevada, Oklahoma.
Another relevant factor may not be so much DWI deaths per x population, but miles traveled. Inclusion of this factor would appear to more accurately reflect the DWI death rate. Having practiced in a "dry" county, I was at first surprised at the number of DWI cases, then learned that when you have to travel 40 miles to get a 6 pack, many people do not wait until they get home to start drinking. While it is reasonable to expect a state with a higher population to have more DWI deaths generally, there are so many other factors that an accurate analysis would be very difficult unless thse factors are at least measured or controlled for.
For stats, click here.
Here is the recent DOT report
California has a population that is 162 percent the size of Texas (according to Wikipedia California is 33.8 and Texas is 20.8).
But in 2006 California had only 94 percent as many deaths as Texas where the driver was over .08.
California's refusal rate is about 5%, while Texas is about 40%. Gee, I guess they like to actually prosecute their cases with evidence.
The Texas refusal rate is much worse if you just look at repeat offenders.
Good point earlier we have more accidents cause we drive more, read the stats, when we calculate for vehicle miles traveled, we come in.......#1. Welcome to Texas, more likely to be executed if you kill folks, more likely to be killed on the highways by drunk drivers, problem with the second group is that you get a whole lot less due process and the EU, ACLU, Innocence Projects, Grits for Breakfast, etc. don't give a crap.
How about sparing some actually innocent folks, about 1,400 per year and criminalizing refusals.
If we simply made a BTR a class B misdemeanor and a conviction or probation resulting from a BTR an enhancable offense both internally and as a jurisdictional prior that affects subsequent refusals or DWI's, the positive effect wouldn't be statistically reliant.
A DWI or BTR with a prior DWI or BTR is a class A. Any mixture of 2 prior DWI or BTR becomes a felony DWI or BTR.
Philip, that was tried and the bill was never even scheduled for a committee hearing.
I noticed that, too, when I looked at the stats in the report you linked to, JB. I'm all for criminalizing BTR, too (at the very least to make people quit saying they have a "right" to refuse the BT, which has never been true), but I noticed that in 2002, when the report was done, neither Texas nor California had criminalized the BTR.
What were/are they doing that we are not? Anyone know?
is the 5% to 40% comparison based DWI arrests or on DWI cases which actually get filed and prosecuted?
how do you think the surcharge has influenced the death toll in Texas?
In no way did I think it was possible to pass, Ken. It makes way too much sense for the legislature to consider it.
Clay probably knows more about this than I do, but it's my understanding that California utilizes a true one-year hard suspension of a person's DL if the person refuses to give a sample, unlike in Texas, where drunk drivers can be right back on the street in a matter of days with an occupational license.
The answer is quite simple. The California Vehicle Code has provided for years as follows:
(B) Any person who drives a motor vehicle is deemed to have given his or her consent to chemical testing of his or her blood or urine for the purpose of determining the drug content of his or her blood, if lawfully arrested for any offense allegedly committed in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153.
(C) The testing shall be incidental to a lawful arrest and administered at the direction of a peace officer having reasonable cause to believe the person was driving a motor vehicle in violation of Section 23140, 23152, or 23153.
(D)(2)(A) If the person is lawfully arrested for driving under the influence of an alcoholic beverage, the person has the choice of whether the test shall be of his or her blood or breath and the officer shall advise the person that he or she has that choice. If the person arrested either is incapable, or states that he or she is incapable, of completing the chosen test, the person shall submit to the remaining test.
Failure to take chemical test
(a) If any person is convicted of a violation of Section 23152 or 23153, and at the time of the arrest leading to that conviction that person willfully refused a peace officer's request to submit to, or willfully failed to complete, the chemical test or tests pursuant to Section 23612, the court shall impose the following penalties:
(1) If the person is convicted of a first violation of Section 23152, notwithstanding any other provision of subdivision (a) of Section 23538, the terms and conditions of probation shall include the conditions in paragraph (1) of subdivision (a) of Section 23538.
(2) If the person is convicted of a first violation of Section 23153, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 48 continuous hours in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed, unless the person is sentenced to, and incarcerated in, the state prison and the execution of that sentence is not stayed.
(3) If the person is convicted of a second violation of Section 23152, punishable under Section 23540, or a second violation of Section 23153, punishable under Section 23560, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 96 hours in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed, unless the person is sentenced to, and incarcerated in, the state prison and execution of that sentence is not stayed.
(4) If the person is convicted of a third violation of Section 23152, punishable under Section 23546, the punishment shall be enhanced by an imprisonment of 10 days in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed.
(5) If the person is convicted of a fourth or subsequent violation of Section 23152, punishable under Section 23550 or 23550.5, the punishment shall be enhanced by imprisonment of 18 days in the county jail, whether or not probation is granted and no part of which may be stayed.
(b) The willful refusal or failure to complete the chemical test required pursuant to Section 23612 shall be pled and proven.
You are also correct that the DL is lost for one full year. Paris found out what happens after that.
Does it bother anyone else, the use of "drunken" ?
This is a inaccurate term to use for DRUNK DRIVING.
There is no criminal offense of """drunken-driving""". It's even bad English.
It's "drunk driving", or driving while intoxicated, or driving under the influence of alcohol.
It's the equivalent of saying " Irregardless ", which is also improper English and is " Regardless ". Both irritate me, can you tell?
I digress. Back on topic. I think people forget the sheer size of Texas being two three four 5 times the size of most states covering a huge area will likely have a high number of a LOT of things, including death penalties, officer involved shootings, defensive use of firearms.. etc etc. So what? Its a big state.
The NEXT day they are released. When I arrest someone I GIVE them their temporary driver license.
Not to nitpick, but "drunken" is a proper English word, according to Merriam-Webster. Technically, there is no offense of "drunk driving" either, since the term "drunk" is not used in the statutes. One could argue that the term "drunken" is actually more appropriate. "Drunken" is most typically used to mean "resulting from or as if from intoxication" as in a "drunken brawl" (or drunken driving). "Drunk" is used to describe the state of being intoxicated, as in "I was drunk after consuming a pitcher of beer." So more precisely, we should probably refer to a "drunk driver" engaging in "drunken driving."
Not to nitpick.
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