Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Imbibing before driving is selfish, wrong

By the Advocate Editorial Board
Oct. 1, 2013 at 5:01 a.m.

Drunken driving is a horrible thing. Not only is it irresponsible, but it also puts innocent lives in danger.

One Victoria family knows this all too well. Dr. Joseph Long lost his wife, Paula Nersesian, to an accident involving a suspected drunken driver at the intersection of Main Street and Mockingbird Lane on May 17. Now, a sign has been erected at the intersection to honor her and remind people of the dangers of drinking and driving.

Victoria has many campaigns throughout the year to help prevent drunken driving, usually during holiday season and weekends when disproportionately large numbers of people will be out celebrating in public. On New Year's Eve, Citizens Medical Center offers the Make Our Area Safe for the Holidays program to offer free taxi rides. High schools in the area have held drunken driving wreck re-enactments to show students the ugly truth about drinking and driving. Every day, commercials on television and Internet ad campaigns remind us of the penalties and consequences.

But even with all of these efforts to educate the public, residents still choose to drink and drive. Here are some reasons from the Texas Department of Transportation on why you should think twice before drinking and driving: • Someone is killed or injured by a drunken driver every 20 minutes in Texas.

• It can take as little as 2 to 3 beers an hour to make some people legally intoxicated.

• The legal blood alcohol concentration (BAC) limit is .08 in Texas. However, a person can still be considered intoxicated if impaired by alcohol, regardless of BAC.

• Having an open container of alcohol while operating a vehicle is punishable by a fine of up to $500.

• Driving while intoxicated with a child under the age of 15 in the car can result in charges of child endangerment, which is punishable by a fine of up to $10,000, up to 2 years in state jail and loss of driver's license for 180 days.

• The penalty for a first driving while intoxicated conviction is a fine of up to $2,000, three to 180 days in jail, loss of driver's license for up to a year and a $1,000 or $2,000 fee for three years to retain a driver's license. Each of these penalties increases for a second and third conviction.

• If a driver receives two or more convictions in less than five years, a special ignition switch will be required in the vehicle that prevents operation if the driver is drunk.

Drinking and driving is not just a foolish decision; it is a selfish and dangerous one that puts both the driver and innocent bystanders at risk. We encourage Crossroads residents to always remember to drink responsibly. Always have a designated driver or plan to call a cab if you plan to drink a lot. By planning ahead, we can help prevent future wrecks.

This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.



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