New plan to help combat drunk drivers

November 23, 2011 3:52:24 PM PST
A new initiative aimed at catching drunk drivers could be the beginning of a plan to extend those controversial "no refusal" weekends to every day of the week.

Law enforcement agencies across Texas are gearing up for a big no-refusal weekend. Suspected drunk drivers who refuse to give a breath test are forced to provide a blood test. And soon it may not just be something they do on weekends.

At the Bellaire Police Department, the Intoxilyzer, or breath machine, is set to get a lot of use this holiday weekend, though not necessarily by Bellaire police officers -- rather Houston police or even Harris County deputies could be using the machines.

Sgt. Daniel Kerr of the Bellaire Police Department said, "They can come here, get it finished quicker, and it will be more accurate as to the time of arrest."

Sgt. Kerr says recently all of Harris County's breath machines came under the technical supervision of the Department of Public Safety. This will allow officers who make a DWI stop anywhere in the county to simply go to the closest breath machine, even if it's a different agency.

"The benefit of having DPS looking over and supervising all of the Intoxilyzers throughout the county is that you can now go to the nearest Intoxilyzer to get your breath test done," said Catherine Evans, chief of vehicular crimes for the Harris County District Attorney's Office. "So hopefully, that's going to save time for the officers."

Evans says that while every weekend in Harris County is no refusal weekend, there is an effort to make every day one as well. The number of fatalities usually jumps during holiday weekends. The Houston Police Department says it will have more officers on the streets, so if you're going to drink?

"Plan ahead," advised Sgt. Kerr. "If you know you're going to drink, make plans ahead of time on how you're going to get home."

For now, no refusal days in Harris County are every Friday and Saturday night.

Load Comments