Approximately 88,000 people die every year in the U.S. due to alcohol-related causes, many of which are traffic fatalities. According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) Texas often leads the country in alcohol-related driving deaths. Everything is bigger in Texas, including the road system. With more miles of road than any other state, and busy interstate highways, Texas also has the highest number of large truck crashes, with alcohol often a factor.
Traffic accidents aren’t the only cause of alcohol-related deaths
Not only does excessive alcohol use kill, it also robs people of their health, quality of life and years of life. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that alcohol abuse can shorten the lives of users by an average of 30 years. Besides alcohol-related traffic deaths, alcohol can contribute to or cause:
- Cancer, especially liver cancer
- Brain damage
- Hypertension (high blood pressure)
- Cardiomyopathy (abnormal heart muscle)
- Heart disease
- Fetal damage, low birth weight, premature birth
- Higher incidents of accidental injuries
- Higher risk of violence, homicide, suicide
- Alcohol addiction
Statistics show the greatest cause of alcohol-related death for men is a hemorrhagic stroke. Women who abuse alcohol are more likely to die from hypertension, which damages blood vessels, heart, kidneys, and other organs.
Studies have shown the number one reason for alcohol-related deaths in some states is due to liver disease, suicide or homicide, rather than traffic accidents. However, the highest number of alcohol-related deaths in Texas is from motor-vehicle crashes.
Penalties in Texas for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) are severe
Your first DWI conviction may result in:
- Fine of up to $2,000
- Up to 180 days in jail
- Loss of driver’s license for up to one year
- $1,000-$2,000 a year charge for 3 years to retain driving privileges
Penalties increase with each additional conviction. Your third conviction may result in heavier fines, loss of your license and a prison sentence of up to 10 years.
If you receive two or more DWI convictions in five years, you are required to install an ignition switch on your car, which will make it inoperable if you’ve been drinking.
Texas has a zero-tolerance policy toward underage drinkers. While adult drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08% or greater can be charged with a DWI, drivers under the age of 21 with any detectable amount of alcohol in their system are subject to the above penalties.