Waxahachie, TX (Law Firm Newswire) June 4, 2013 — Every 15 minutes in the U.S., someone is killed by a drunk driver.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released a recommendation that the legal blood alcohol level be lowered to 0.05. The Texas office of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) has formally backed the new proposal, stating that the lower limit would save lives. Austin Police Chief, Art Acevedo, released a statement in which, while he did not formally endorse the new level, stated the change was worth “robust exploration and debate.”
“Driving under the influence continues to be a major concern in Texas and throughout the nation,” commented Waxahachie personal injury attorney John Hale.
Sen. John Whitmire, D-Houston, head of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, is not so certain. In 1999, Whitmire was chairing the same committee, when Texas lowered the blood alcohol limit from 0.1 to 0.08. But as studies show, a woman who weighs just 120 lbs. needs just one drink to reach a 0.05 blood alcohol limit. Whitmire suggests instead more efforts to educate the public about drunk driving and the need to use a designated driver.
Whitmire appears more inclined to support proposals for state-wide or federal-wide campaigns to educate the public about the dangers of drunk driving. One particularly effective campaign has been used at the local level in Cleveland, Texas since 2002. There, students at Tarkington High School see firsthand, a demonstration of the fallout from drunk driving. The annual drill, “Forever Changed,” educates students about drunk driving.
Junior and senior students watch from the sidelines as emergency responders, local officials and classmates stage a fake drunk-driving-related car accident. One teen poses as the inebriated driver, uninjured by the accident. Other classmates play the roles of injured passengers. First responders arrive on the scene as if it were an actual accident and proceed to extract the victims and place them on stretchers.
The student “driver” is handcuffed and placed in a police vehicle. Parents arrive at the scene, pretending to be distraught. There is no hard data to show whether the drill makes any significant difference in how many Tarkington teens go on to drink and drive. But more than a decade later, the school continues to attempt to make a lasting impression.
A 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that driving under the influence of alcohol is highest among individuals ages 21 to 25. Approximately 15 percent of teens between the ages of 18 and 20 admitted to driving while intoxicated with the past 12 months.
The Hale Law Firm
100 Executive Court, Suite 3
Waxahachie, TX 75165
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