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Texas: Tightening Drinking and Driving Laws

The Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) limit is determined at .08 Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) in Texas. However, in El Paso, Texas, they are pushing forward the creation of a new law that may change that. The new law, which is the DWAI (Driving While Ability Impaired) law, lowers the drinking limit from .08 to between .05 and .07.

What does this all mean? It means a driver could potentially be arrested after a glass of wine or a bottle (or less) of beer if they choose to drive. Depending on a driver’s physical condition and over all general health, most drivers don’t be exhibit any outward signs of being ability-impaired at .05 BAC., according to the Progressive Effects of Alcohol by VirginiaTech1 . However, studies show that driver may have a harder time of focusing and concentrating, whether the driver is aware of the alcohol effects or not.

The Good:

  • There could be less DWI/drunk-driving-related crashes on Texas roads.

  • There would be more reason to have a designated-driver or the use of taxi's and other safe ride resources planned for when going out.

  • Texas authorities are continually finding ways to stop drunk-driving. Drunk driving is 100 percent preventable including programs like the "Know When to Pass" campaign

  • It would raise awareness to the importance of substance free driving and help to reduce the number of fatalities caused by driving under the influence.

The Bad:

  • It could potentially hurt the bar industry in Texas. Less people would be out at clubs for fear of getting a DWAI charge.

  • Motorists may not realize that they are driving-ability-impaired at .05 BAC.

The Ugly:

  • A LOT of people will get charged with DWAI and the result could crowd the jails and court systems.

  • There's still no clear definition of what the punishment is for a DWAI. Will it be the same as a DWI, or will it be less, since, technically the BAC isn’t a DWI yet?

According to the same article, the Texas Senate is currently discussing the proposed law and if it pushes through, it could possibly pass by January.

Keep in mind that alcohol affects people differently. If you are coming down with an illness, haven't eaten, or are dehydrated, the way it makes you feel may change or compound the alcohol effects. While these effects will not change your BAC, it can affect your abilities.

If you choose to drink, give yourself up to two hours per drink to allow the alcohol to move through your system.

How to Deal with Underage Drinking: Tips for Parents

[Source: http://www.kfoxtv.com/news/25362754/detail.html]

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