Proposed Texas DUI Law Would Allow Security Checkpoints in the State
By: Chris Kramer
Proposed DUI laws in Texas were the reasons behind a House Law Enforcement Committee public hearing earlier this week at the state Capitol, with security checkpoints and ignition interlock devices especially taking center stage!
House Bill 253 would require security checkpoints throughout Texas on roads where officers have observed a higher volume of drunken drivers. Lawmakers in favor of this proposed Texas DUI law say that it would reduce fatal drunken driving accidents by 20 percent. A kxan.com story said that there were 1,569 Texas DUI fatalities in 2005.
Critics to this proposed addition to Texas DUI laws called security checkpoints unconstitutional and added that they would amount to illegal search and seizures and racial profiling. One Texas lawyer, Ken Gibson, said that security checkpoints would provide fewer DUI arrests than roving patrols.
Representative Todd Smith sponsored this proposed Texas DUI law
and agreed with the assertion that security checkpoints would result in fewer arrests for DUI. Smith said this Texas DUI law would be effective in scaring people to not drink and drive, especially when running television commercials explaining its intent.
Texas is one of 11 states that does not allow security checkpoints. According to lawmakers in the story, 70 percent of people polled on the idea of adding security checkpoints for DUI in Texas supported the idea.
House Bill 934 Would Require Alcohol Ignition Interlocks for Anyone Convicted of Texas DUI!
Add Texas to Illinois and South Carolina as states giving serious consideration to requiring the installation of ignition interlock devices in the vehicles of DUI offenders.
Representative Linda Harper-Brown has sponsored House Bill 934, which would mandate the installation of a breathalyzer to start a vehicle's ignition for any person who is caught and convicted of Texas DUI. In order for the car to start, a previous Texas DUI offender would have to blow into a breathalyzer for seven seconds and pass the breath test.
Harper-Brown justified the need for her proposed Texas DUI law in the story by describing an automobile as a potentially 'lethal weapon' and adding that legislators need to do all that's possible to combat drunk driving with more cars on the road and people driving.
While acknowledging that alcohol ignition interlock devices are good ideas for repeat offenders, the aforementioned Gibson disagreed that they are necessary for first-time offenders. Gibson specifically called this aspect of Harper-Brown's proposed Texas DUI law the result of aggressive lobbying by ignition interlock manufacturers, who he said would stand to make millions of dollars with such a measure. The kxan.com story said that an alcohol ignition interlock device would cost $65 a month in Texas.