Unfortunately, Texas is one of the five states with the most drunk driving incidents. You've heard it all before: drinking and driving is never a good mix, but every year it leads to thousands of deaths that could have been completely avoided. But how big is this problem in the Lone Star State, really? Let's look at the latest statistics.
Texas Drunk Driving Statistics
The latest statistics are in, and the takeaway is grim: 2021 was an even worse year for drunk-driving incidents than 2020.
There were 25,261 drunk-driving crashes in 2021 in Texas alone.
As a result, 1,029 people were killed — that's one death every 8.5 hours.
2,522 people were seriously injured in these crashes.
24% of all traffic deaths in 2021 in Texas were tied to drunk driving.
Overall, there was a 9% increase in DUI-related car crashes compared to 2020. But the pandemic that put everything at a standstill can only explain so much. The truth is more and more drivers are getting behind the wheel impaired, and thousands of families suffer because of these bad choices every year.
DUI Laws in Texas
Officials are fighting hard against drunk driving in Texas. The Lone Star State has some pretty strict DUI laws in place to keep residents safe.
For starters, the legal Blood Alcohol Concentration (BAC) limit is 0.08 in Texas — anything above that is considered legally drunk. It doesn't matter if a driver says they "don't feel drunk," breathalyzer exams don't lie.
There's no slap on the wrist for drunk driving — DUI penalties in Texas can be rather severe.
You may receive a fine of up to $2,000.
You could be sentenced to 180 days in jail if you are convicted, and at least three days are mandatory.
You may lose your driver's license for up to one year.
You may receive a fine of up to $4,000.
You can be sentenced anywhere from one month to a year in jail.
You could lose your driver's license for up to two years.
You'll have to pay a $10,000 fine.
You may receive a prison sentence of anywhere from two to 10 years.
You will lose your driver's license for up to two years.
In addition to the fines mentioned above, the state of Texas may assess additional financial penalties in the amount of $3,000, $4,500, or $6,000 at the time of sentencing.
If you are caught driving while drunk and there is a child under the age of 15 riding in the car with you, you will face additional charges and fines, as follows:
You may be charged with child endangerment.
You could be fined up to $10,000.
You could face a jail sentence of up to two years.
You stand to lose your driver's license for an additional 180 days.
Driving Drunk Can Be an Easy Trap to Fall Into
There's no straightforward conversion of "number of drinks" to "blood alcohol level." It all depends on your gender, weight, and other factors. Maybe you had just one beer and feel dizzy and know you shouldn't drive at all. Or maybe you're more confident in your driving skills and think you can drive home after a long night of partying with your friends — even though you shouldn't.
The reality is you have to be honest with yourself and err on the side of caution. If you've been drinking, don't take any risks and surrender your keys. Have one of your sober friends drive, sleep it off in your car, or call a ride-share service. No matter how inconvenient it is, it's the safest choice for everyone around you.
Stay Safe and Be a Responsible Driver
Being a good driver isn't just about knowing how to park in tight spaces, it's about avoiding dangerous situations. Of course, drinking and driving is a recipe for disaster, but there are other dangerous behind-the-wheel conditions you should always keep in mind.
Defensive driving classes teach you exactly that: how to respond in those tricky and scary unexpected situations on the road. From dealing with road rage to making it safely to the other side of a snowstorm, these classes boost your skills and help keep you — and others — safe.