The Texas Department of Transportation has a new campaign to publicize the consequences of drunk driving featuring stories about people who were severely injured by drunk driving accidents.
The site Faces of Drunk Driving is extremely powerful, and designed to raise awareness and make people think twice about getting behind the wheel while drunk. It is about promoting responsibility according to Sean Carter, one of the victims profiled, and not about advocating for tougher DWI laws.
The campaign will include public appearances by Sean, and will no doubt be a memorable experience for those who are exposed to his story and others from the site.
It is not clear exactly how much impact these campaigns have, but there is no doubt that DWI rates are decreasing across the county as laws toughen, and public tolerance of drunk driving continues to decrease.
Unfortunately, we all know people with serious alcohol problems and other personal issues that make them unreachable by these kinds of awareness campaigns, but hopefully the general public will continue to be mindful about about not driving after drinking.
But Texas DWI enforcement is still very tough, and there are absolutely cases where innocent people are prosecuted in very marginal situations where the evidence against them is slim and questionable.
Most people arrested for drunk driving are average citizens, (possibly) barely over the limit, and who face significant criminal penalties and license loss for a mistake where no one is hurt. And field sobriety tests are designed in a way where it is easy for people who are overweight, out of shape, old or tired to fail to show the proper balance and coordination.
While the public needs protection from chronic drunk drivers and alcoholics who are beyond reason and reaching with these campaigns, most reasonable people don’t deserve harsh punishment for a one time mistake.