Attn Texas Governor: The Eyes of the Nation are Upon You

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The Lone Star State Has a Chance to Lose Its Distinction as the Nation’s Front-Runner in DUI Deaths

A couple of weeks ago the Texas House of Representatives proudly passed a crucial piece of DUI legislation. House Bill 2246 would allow anyone arrested for drunk driving to install an ignition interlock and drive instead of having their license suspended. An ignition interlock, or car breathalyzer, prevents a vehicle from starting if the driver has been drinking.

Now the Senate has passed it – unanimously. Bravo. All that’s left is Governor Abbott’s signature.

Why an interlock? Shouldn’t people who drive drunk have their license suspended? It sounds reasonable, but research shows that many offenders tend to ignore license suspension and drive anyway, and that includes people who drink and drive. An ignition interlock device is the only guaranteed way to prevent a driver from taking to the road while under the influence of alcohol.

That is why Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD) urged the Texas Senate to pass this legislation. And they’ve surely got their eyes on the Texas Governor as well now that it’s on his desk.

HB 2246 fills a particularly urgent need in Texas, which is the nation’s leader in drunk driving deaths. In 2013 the state had 1,337 road fatalities. California, with a population almost half again larger, had 867.

This road safety bill would go a long way toward reducing these discouraging numbers. Members of the House and Senate have shown that they understand how successful ignition interlocks have been in other states. That’s why they passed 2246 without diluting or otherwise hobbling its life-saving potential.

We expect that Governor Abbott understands this, and listens to road safety advocates in the state who believe it’s time for Texas to lose one distinction and gain another: that of front-runner in the fight against drunk driving.