The Police chief in Austin Texas has floated the idea of a Driving While Ability Impaired (DWAI) law, or “DWI light” as a new Texas drunk driving offense.The idea, which after some initial interest, doesn’t seem to be going far, would create a new statute for driving with a blood alcohol level of between .05% and .07% BAC.
The idea would largely be a lesser plea (proposed penalties for the new law haven’t been publicized) from a DWI. Although the fact is, most states, including Texas, have the ability to convict people of drunk driving or DWI if they appear to be impaired, regardless of blood alcohol level, such as when under the influence of illegal drugs or other substances.
Critics suggest this is just another way to criminalize moderate drinkers, and that the real danger on the road to public safety is hardcore alcoholics who continue to drive after repeat offenses and high levels of intoxication.
Even MADD, while not coming out against the idea, has suggested that this idea may not be necessary, and isn’t part of their organization’s agenda and lobbying efforts.
Hopefully this idea will be DOA before it gets any legislative momentum.