Spring Break in Texas brings fun and relaxation for students and teachers alike. In addition, the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo and St. Patrick’s Day coincide with Spring Break. All these events come with increased alcohol consumption. This results in a higher rate of drunk driving, causing higher rates of injuries and deaths from vehicular accidents.
Houston is already a leader in DUI fatalities. According to an analysis of federal highway data by the Houston Chronicle, the greater Houston area has amassed more fatal DUI accidents over the past 16 years compared to any other major metropolitan area in the United States.
Law enforcement patrols increase during Spring Break as officers actively look for intoxicated drivers with a focus on drivers under the age of 21 (minors).
Zero Tolerance for Minors with Alcohol
Texas has established Zero Tolerance for minors who commit any alcohol-related offenses. It is a criminal offense for drivers under 21 to operate a vehicle with any alcohol in their system. If alcohol is detected, the minor will be arrested and charged with Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA by a Minor). After that, they are taken to jail and given a breathalyzer or taken to a hospital for a blood test. Texas has implied consent laws for minors, meaning a minor that is arrested for DUIA automatically consents to taking either of these tests. Subsequently, if a minor refuses to take these tests, the minor’s driver’s license will suspended and the minor may be jailed.
No Refusal Operations for All Suspected DWI Drivers
No Refusal Operations are common during Spring Break. Like Zero Tolerance, officers can get warrants for blood samples from drivers that refuse breath or chemical tests. Consequences of a DWI conviction , even a first time DWI conviction, can include: court fines/fees, legal fees, jail time, suspension of driver’s license and impounding of your vehicle. The cost associated with DUI convictions can be extreme.
Plan to Avoid a Spring Break DWI
Plan ahead and choose a designated driver or car service like Uber or Lyft. Stay off the roads during peak the DUI crash times of 12am to 3am. Watch out for your friends, family, neighbors, and co-workers, and intervene if they try to drive after drinking. In addition, always wear your seat belt and call 911 to report any suspected drunk drivers.