New legislation in TX may help to decrease DUI accidents

A new law in Texas promotes the use of ignition interlock devices to convicted DUI offenders, which could help decrease DUI deaths in the state.

Drunk driving is a serious problem in many states across the country. Yet, Texas had more drunk driving deaths in 2013 than any other state in the nation. Approximately 1,337 people were killed and 15,687 people were injured in the 25,479 DUI accidents that occurred that year, according to Mothers Against Drunk Driving. Many people are hoping that a new law passed in 2015 will help to keep intoxicated drivers off of the road, which would reduce the high rate of accidents, injuries and deaths that occur each year.

The law

Rather than have their driving privileges completely revoked, the new law allows convicted DUI offenders the option of having an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicles. According to Dallas Morning News, offenders that have an interlock device are able to drive safely to work, school, doctors' appointments and other necessary destinations. However, they are unable to start their vehicles and drive if they have a blood alcohol content level that measures above a preset level, which is usually 0.02 percent.

Before the new law was enacted, only DUI offenders with BAC levels exceeding 0.15 percent were required to have these devices in their vehicles. The previous law did give judges the ability to order use of IIDs to other offenders according to their discretion.

Why IIDs?

Ignition interlock devices help to keep drunk drivers off of the roads, and as a result, help to reduce the drunk driving fatality rate. Many states that have enacted laws requiring all convicted DUI offenders to install the devices have seen a dramatic decline in the number of people killed by drunk drivers.

MADD reported that interlock devices also reduce the number of repeat DUI offenders by 67 percent. Drivers who have had an IID installed in the vehicles are even less likely to reoffend once the device is removed from the vehicle. Studies show that up to 70 percent of convicted DUI offenders continue to drive on a suspended license. Yet, IIDs keep all offenders from getting behind the wheel while intoxicated.

Dealing with the aftermath of an accident

If you have been involved in an accident caused by a drunk driver in Texas, you may be left with extensive property damage and/or serious injuries that may make it difficult for you to return to work. You may want to consider speaking to an attorney regarding your legal rights and options. A personal injury lawyer may be able to help you organize a case and receive financial compensation that will help you recover from the aftermath of a car accident.