HOUSTON – The Houston-Galveston Area Council is beginning the third year of its Regional DWI Task Force, which consists of 12 law enforcement agencies throughout the Houston-Galveston area. The DWI Task Force will be operating throughout the Thanksgiving holiday to reduce the number of instances of Driving While Intoxicated (DWI). The Task Force is funded through a Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) grant awarded by the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), providing overtime funds for agencies to provide enhanced DWI enforcement during holiday weekends when there has traditionally been more alcohol-related traffic incidents. Since its inception in 2012, the Task Force made 986 DWI arrests.
Convicted first-time DWI offenders can pay a fine up to $2,000, serve six months in jail, lose their driver’s license for up to a year, and pay an additional $3,000 to retain their license once they get it back. Safety officials say other costs associated with an impaired driving arrest and conviction can add up to more than $17,000 for bail, legal fees, court appearances, court-ordered classes, vehicle insurance increases, and other expenses.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2014, 333 people died in DWI-related incidents throughout the region. These figures represent 54 percent of the region’s motor vehicle fatalities.
“Thanks to our partnership with these participating law enforcement agencies, we hope to ensure that everyone can enjoy a safe holiday,” said Jeff Kaufman from H-GAC. “If you choose to drink, appoint a designated driver or arrange for a ride home.”
Houston-Galveston Area Council
H-GAC (www.h-gac.com) is a voluntary association of local governments in the 13-county Gulf Coast Planning Region—an area of 12,500 square miles and more than 6 million people. H-GAC’s mission is to serve as the instrument of local government cooperation, promoting the region’s orderly development and the safety and welfare of its citizens.