Texas has stiff penalties against drunk driving because of the danger to others on the roads. Recent statistics put the problem of drunk driving into perspective and help identify patterns.
General DUI statistics
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates drunk driving causes 32 fatalities daily in the United States. The Center for Disease Control reports that 147 million impaired drivers operated motor vehicles in 2018. NHTSA estimates drunk driving caused 290,000 crashes and 11,654 fatalities in 2020, which is a 14% increase from 2019.
The number of alcohol-related crashes has decreased, accounting for 30% of all traffic accidents, but 10,000 fatalities still occur annually. It is estimated that 30% of crashes involving alcohol involve drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08.
The 21 to 24 age group has the highest risk of drunk driving crashes and ages 25-29 had the second-highest DUI risk. Raising the minimum drinking age to 21 has saved 31,959 since 1984 according to figures from NHTSA.
Texas DUI stats
Figures report a Texas resident is involved in a fatal alcohol-related crash every eight hours and 31 minutes. The Texas Department of Transportation reports 813 fatal crashes occurred in 2019 and 4.166 crashes with an injury possibly linked to DUI.
Between 2003 and 2012, drunk driving caused 13,318 fatalities in Texas, and it has 7.76 alcohol-related fatalities per 100,000 citizens. Texas has a DUI severity score of 64.4, making it the fifth-worst in the United States, behind Montana and South Dakota. The average age of people involved in crashes is 14 to 86, with the 21 to 31-year-old group involved in the most crashes.
A first DWI offense in Texas includes a suspended license for one year, a six-month jail term, and up to a $2,000 fine. However, sometimes officers make mistakes during an arrest, which could reduce the sentence or dismiss the case.