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Drunk driving deaths down in Texas, but not by much

The good news is that the rate of drunk driving deaths have declined slightly, by a hair over 2 percent, over the last 15 or so years. In 2000, almost 1,500 people died in drunk driving accidents on the roads of this state. In 2017, the number had dropped to 1,468.

The bad news is that, even though Texas is not the most populated state in the country, it had the most deaths related to drunk driving in the country both in 2000 and in 2017. By contrast, California recorded only 1,120 deaths due to drunk driving in 2017.

Moreover, relatively speaking, Texas’s 2 percent decline is not all that impressive. Among the states, Texas ranks only 42 when compared to all the other states, putting it at the back of the pack. Some of the best performing states saw their drunk driving fatality rates decline by as much as 60 percent. Across the country, the fatality rate declined by an average of 18 percent.

Like other states, Texas has stepped up enforcement of drunk driving laws and have also used public awareness campaigns to get the message out that drunk driving is dangerous and irresponsible behavior. But, for whatever reason, it seems that many drivers in this state just are not paying attention to the warnings, even though there are arguably more forms of alternate transportation available to revelers than ever before.

It is unfortunate that so many people around Houston elect to driver while intoxicated. The silver lining is that victims of car accidents may be able to get compensation from such drivers to cover items like medical bills, funeral expenses and the like. Punitive damages may also be available.