The winter months and the upcoming holiday season always bring an increase in the amount of driving risks you encounter. These increased risks are further exacerbated by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol. No city in the United States is more familiar with the issue of impaired drivers than Houston. Reporters say that a lack of traffic and speeding enforcement may be contributing to the rise in deaths due to driving while intoxicated (DWI). Whatever the cause, drivers who are drunk or high cause more fatal DUI accidents in Houston than in any other metropolitan area in America.
If someone you know passed away due to injuries sustained in a fatal Houston car crash, contact The Krist Law Firm, P.C. Our attorneys are experienced in helping Texas families with wrongful death claims. While it may be difficult to think about a legal procedure during such a difficult time, you may be entitled to recover from any damages you sustained. This can help ease the strain an unexpected fatality can cause.
Call (281) 283-8500 or fill out the online form to schedule your free consultation today.
Drugs and Alcohol Cause More Driving Deaths in Houston Than Any Other City
In the last 16 years, no city in the country has seen more intoxicated driving deaths than Houston. Throughout the nine counties that make up Houston’s metropolitan area, over 3,000 Texas auto wrecks caused by impaired drivers resulted in fatalities. For perspective, intoxicated drivers caused about 1,000 fewer fatal crashes in Los Angeles over the same period. Los Angeles has a total population roughly double that of Houston. The area with the closest number of similar crashes during that time is Dallas/Fort Worth, with just under 2,500.
Enforcement of Traffic Law Is Insufficient in the Face of Houston Driving Deaths
Houston locals partially attribute the number of DWI deaths to the lack of action from local law enforcement. Sherriff’s Sergeant Kirby Burton says that people in Houston don’t fear being arrested for drinking and driving. The number of officers who police intoxicated drivers in Houston is insufficient; some departments don’t have any officers designated to police drunk driving.
Treatment and rehab programs are often so costly and complicated that those convicted of DWIs choose to serve jail time instead. Once imprisoned, rehabilitation efforts become much more difficult, making it no less likely that they’ll drink and drive again upon their release. There’s also no guarantee that someone charged with a DWI will be imprisoned at all; since 2015, over a dozen drivers convicted in intoxication manslaughter cases were not incarcerated.
Many Intoxicated Drivers That Cause Fatalities are Repeat Offenders
The relative lack of consequences for DWI convictions has led many drivers to be caught more than once. Roughly 30,000 intoxicated drivers have been arrested in the Houston area since 2015. Of those 30,000, about 8,000 were repeat offenders. The Houston Chronicle reviewed 100 cases of Houston drivers accused of intoxication manslaughter. Over 20 of those drivers also had previous or pending DWI cases.
Texas state law does not provide law enforcement with sufficient mechanisms for monitoring drunken drivers after they’ve been convicted. This leaves the city with very few options when it comes to supervising or restricting someone convicted of a DWI. Even if that the person is a chronic drunk driver, the shortage of manpower and judicial action leaves law enforcement with very little they can do. Judges and legislators voice little confidence that the state will make its laws regarding drunk drivers more severe. Meaningful change would be a political hassle, with many Texans seeing intervention as an infringement on their rights.
Find Out If You Can Be Compensated For a Fatal Car Accident Today
To discuss holding the person responsible for your loss accountable after a fatal DUI accident in the Houston area, contact the lawyers at The Krist Law Firm, P.C. While there is no cure for emotional distress, recovering damages can be a big step towards setting things right. Bringing a suit for wrongful death can be an arduous process. Luckily, our attorneys are well equipped to handle it.
Call (281) 283-8500, or reach out online to schedule your free consultation today.