Texans believe everything is bigger in Texas and it seems that that may include hangovers. Despite Texas DWI laws, even in dry counties, (no liquor served or sold) “Driving While Intoxicated” citations make headlines. Armstrong County is plagued with drunk drivers and even though it is dry, the county has the highest number of teenage citations for DWIs than any other county in the state.
It is not that Texans do not appreciate the dangers of drunk driving; it is just that drinking, especially for young men, getting drunk and cruising in their pickup trucks is almost a rite of passage. With Armstrong County, the problem is the county has a lake that attracts people from other areas not so fortunate.
With the highest rate of DWIs in the nation, Texas should be aware of the consequences of driving while drunk. Jail sentences alone have not stopped the deadly trend of teenage driving and drinking, or for that matter, adults. Both teenagers and the over twenty-one crowd continue to drink and drive, seemingly oblivious of the number of drunk driving deaths occurring at an alarming rate nationwide. Drunk driving penalties have not cured the act of driving while under the influence.
It is possible that education can help. If more emphasis were put on teaching our young people how alcohol affects judgment, reasoning and reaction times, it is possible we can see a reduction in alcohol related deaths.
Until we implement a formal curriculum in our schools to educate against the dangers of over indulgence, there is an interim solution. A new device on the market can provide a reading of a drinker’s BAC (Blood Alcohol Concentration). Knowing the level of intoxication gives the drinkers some idea of his or her ability to drive responsibly.
This new technology is a commercial breathalyzer that comes in a variety of sizes. There is a small version that drinkers can carry on their person and a larger model that is in the form of a vending machine. Bars and restaurants can install the larger units at their establishments for customer to check their BAC before getting behind the wheel of a vehicle.
Naturally, a breathalyzer is not going to solve all the problems of driving while drinking. What it can do is give the responsible drinker an accurate reading of their BAC with a description of how that level of intoxication will affect their driving. At that point, the driver or companion drinkers have information that can save their lives.