#1 2022-02-15 18:29:39

MichaelBluejay
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Drunk driving culture

Drunk driving isn't something that's done by just a small percentage of people, it's deeply ingrained as part of the culture.

Percentage of drivers who drove impaired in the last year:
    * 42% (% driving impaired among those who use both alcohol and marijuana, Columbia University, 2022)
    * 18.9% (The Zebra, 2020)
    * 17.3% (The Zebra, 2021)
    * 9.1% (MADD, 2013)

Percentage of adults who drove drunk in the last 30 days.  2% (CDC, 2012)

Frequency of driving impaired.  Alcohol-impaired drivers drove 147 million times in 2018.  That's about one time for every two people in the U.S. (Forbes, citing CDC)  CDC's table says 111-159M times a year, for 1993-2014.

Enforcement.  Drivers drive drunk an average of 80 times before their first arrest. (MADD)

Best DWI Lawyer Award.  Our local "alternative" weekly, in its Best of Austin issue, had a category for "Best DWI Lawyer".  They didn't print the letter I sent to complain about that. (Bicycle Austin, 2017)

Includes actors at all levels of government.  Drunk driving is committed by police (who are supposed to be enforcing drunk driving laws), by District Attorneys (who are supposed to be enforcing drunk driving laws), and legislators (who are supposed to be making drunk driving laws). (Bicycle Austin, 2019)

Fatalities not improving.  Drunk driving fatalities have been flat between 2010-2019, at about 10,000/year. (Bankrate)

Share of crashes.  28% of 2018 traffic fatalities and 19% of 2019 crashes involved alcohol-impaired drivers.  (Forbes, citing NHTSA)

Texas vs. U.S.  The drunk driving rate is 10% higher in Texas vs. the U.S. (CDC)

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#2 2023-01-04 12:30:53

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

TxDoT says drunk driving crashes rose 14% from 2020 to 2021.

But you know, bicyclists have to follow the law like drivers do if they want respect.

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#3 2023-01-06 00:14:01

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

APD made 85 DWI arrests during the holiday season.

39% of those were either extremely drunk (BAC ≥0.15), or had prior DWI convictions, or had a child in the car with them.

But you know, bicyclists have to follow the law like drivers do if they want respect.

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/ … ative/amp/

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#4 2023-02-05 21:45:49

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

No jail for drunk driver C. Ramos who killed another driver (1/2021)

Got only ten years of probation.

https://www.kxan.com/news/crime/man-giv … ustin/amp/

Thoughts?

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#5 2023-02-07 16:07:14

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

Texas senator Charles Jeffrey Schwertner (R) was arrested for drunk driving.

Those who make the laws, break them.  Wonderful.

https://www.kxan.com/news/local/austin/ … -show/amp/

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#6 2023-02-08 10:42:07

Darron
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Re: Drunk driving culture

That guy hs more issues than just the DUI arrest.  Check out his Wikipedia page: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Schwertner

An this is after his staff has tried hard to put him in a good light!

He did vote in favor of the Lisa Torrey Smith Act (but so did every State Senator).

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#7 2023-02-08 20:13:43

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

Thanks, I checked out his history.  And yet he was re-elected every time in a landslide.  Great.

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#8 2023-02-09 10:00:01

Darron
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Re: Drunk driving culture

His district keeps getting gerrymandered so people who are on to his shenanigans (southern Wilco) are moved out of his district.

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#9 2023-09-20 22:16:54

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

DWI enforcement seems inconsistent, to put it charitably.  Often offenders get slaps on the wrist, or even nothing, even if they've killed someone.  However, after 5+ convictions, many of them are suddenly looking at *life*.  Such was the case in a recent story about a 55-year-old Central Texas man with seven convictions who won't be eligible for parole until 2042, at age 74.  He believes his sentence is unfair, because, "I didn't hurt anybody.  I didn't kill anybody."

https://www.fox7austin.com/news/crime-w … xas-prison

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#10 2023-09-21 14:53:25

dougmc
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Re: Drunk driving culture

I think a lot of the inconsistency comes from "there go I but for the grace of God" thinking.

One bad decision?  The jury thinks back to the time where they drove drunk themselves (as you said previously: it's a culture) and realizes that it's just luck that kept them from being before a jury themselves.  So they identify with the accused far more closely than they identify with the victim.

But seven convictions?  Well, they (mostly) haven't even been convicted once (still luck, of course), so they have a much easier time not identifying with this guy.

Also, there's the "three strikes law", and the way that 3rd and subsequent DWI convictions are a felony, so that sounds like the three strikes rule working exactly as intended.

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#11 2023-09-21 21:26:55

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

Yes, I see why juries might be unlikely to convict, but the punishments and the crimes are not matching up.  Case in point:  Scott Allan Taylor, who actually killed someone while driving drunk in Austin, just got 20 years...less time than the man mentioned above who got life even though he didn't kill anyone.

https://www.kxan.com/news/crime/man-get … slaughter/

Is this a good thing?

In the Austin Chronicle, a reader complained about his girlfriend being a bad driver (not signaling, slamming on her brakes at traffic lights), with her defense being that she's never been in a collision or been cited.  The Luv Doc sided with the girlfriend, for her stated reasons.  I didn't detect any sarcasm.  I can't agree that just because someone hasn't been in a collision that means they're a good driver.

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#12 2023-09-22 13:58:02

dougmc
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Re: Drunk driving culture

Well, the "three strikes law" is explicitly meant to put people away for the rest of their lives, with a penalty of 25-99 years in prison.  If very often does result in excessive penalties for crimes that aren't that bad.

Even actual murder -- a first-degree felony -- has a lesser penalty, only 5-99 years in prison.

For intoxication manslaughter, that's a second-degree felony, so the penalty is 2-20 years.

Scott Allan Taylor got the maximum, I guess.  And his case is very much the exception -- it seems like a lot of drunk drivers who kill people don't even get convicted of intoxication manslaughter -- they don't get charged at all, or they plea bargain to some misdemeanor or something.  Or the juries acquit them because reasons.

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#13 2023-09-22 20:47:17

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

Thank you.  I wish this forum had a "Thank" button for posts.  Maybe someday...

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#14 2023-11-17 13:43:39

MichaelBluejay
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Re: Drunk driving culture

Austin Chronicle 10/27/23 wrote:

A recent analysis by Austin Transportation Department’s Vision Zero initiative found that compared to Travis County medical records, the state’s crash reports significantly undercount the percentage that involved an intoxicated driver. Travis County noted drugs or alcohol present in 77% of cases, while the state only noted 30%.

https://www.austinchronicle.com/news/20 … -the-week/

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