Texas has an unfortunate reputation for a high number of car accidents related to drunk driving. The state has created several laws designed to reduce the number of alcohol-related accidents. Most of these laws have escalating penalties for repeat offenders. However, there are serious consequences for the first offense when a person drives under the influence of alcohol with a child in the car.
The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility provides several facts and statistics about drunk driving in Texas. In 2017, there were 1,468 driving fatalities related to alcohol impairment. This represents a 12% increase in alcohol-impaired driving fatalities over the last 10 years. There were also 64,784 arrests in Texas for individuals driving under the influence.
The Texas Department of Transportation states that someone gets hurt or killed in an alcohol-related car accident approximately every 20 minutes in the state. The DOT also provides clear information on the consequences of getting a DWI with a child passenger in the car. According to the law, a child passenger is anyone younger than 15 years old. Driving under the influence with a young passenger may lead to a charge of child endangerment. Conviction of this crime may lead to a fine, incarceration and license suspension. Individuals may lose their licenses for up to 180 days and spend up to two years in jail. Fines may be as large as $10,000.
Individuals who get pulled over under suspicion of DWI should be willing to submit to a breath or blood test to determine blood alcohol content. Drivers who refuse a test may lose their licenses for 180 days. The DOT reminds people that the best way to avoid a DWI charge and help keep everyone safe on the roads is to ride with a designated driver or call a cab.