On July 4, 2011, El Paso police said an intoxicated man driving the wrong way on U.S. 54 crashed head-on into another car, killing the other driver. Just four days later, police allege another driver was driving while drunk on Loop 375 and crashed into a car, killing two 16-year-old boys and injuring a 17-year-old boy. Texas leads the nation in the number of fatal alcohol-related auto accidents and the rate of drunk driving accidents in El Paso in particular is on the rise. As of July 11, 2011, El Paso logged 200 alcohol-related motor vehicle accidents, 19 of which involved fatalities. The number of crashes is 20 more than during the same time period in 2010. The number of fatal drunk driving accidents illustrates the dangers of driving while intoxicated and police are working to try to curb this increase and lessen the number of accidents.
Police have taken steps to decrease the number of drunk driving accidents. After eight deaths from drunk driving in January 2011 alone, chief of El Paso police Greg Allen added more officers to the El Paso DWI task force. Police have arrested 1,600 people for DWI in 2011 as of July. People can log on to the El Paso Police Department’s website and view the pictures of people arrested on suspicion of DWI.
Dangers of Drunk Driving
Driving under the influence of alcohol poses significant risks. As the amount of alcohol in a person’s system increases, the chances of that person getting into an auto accident multiplies. The likelihood of a driver with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.10 getting into a fatal car accident is seven times higher than the likelihood of driver who has not been drinking getting into such an accident. The statistics jump to 25 times higher for a driver with a BAC of 0.15 or higher. Even a person with a BAC as low as 0.04 – well below the legal limit of 0.08 – is 1.4 more times likely to be involved in an accident than a person who had no alcohol. Driving while intoxicated not only risks the driver’s health and safety, but also poses a grave hazard to all of the other drivers out on the road.
Additionally, if a driver who is intoxicated is involved in an accident, he or she faces stiff criminal charges and fines in addition to the responsibility of paying for the damage from the accident.
El Paso police are taking action in the face of the disturbing trend of the rise in drunk driving accidents in the area. However, they know that DWI arrests alone will not curb the problem and that people need to make the choice not to get behind the wheel after drinking.
Source: Drunken Driving Crashes In El Paso Up In 2011