According to MADD, Texas has more drunk driving deaths than any other state in the nation. Dallas, in particular, tops the list with over 10 deaths for every 100,000 residents each year. The following are several reasons Dallas leads the nation in alcohol-related traffic fatalities.
Dallas Was Built to Be Driven In
Cities like Chicago and New York are built conducive to walking, taking a cab, or traveling via public transportation. Cities in the Midwest and throughout the Sun Belt were constructed in a way that encourages more driving. This is the first reason Dallas suffers from such high levels of drunk driving deaths. Dallas is a city that has experienced great suburban growth in recent years. With more suburban sprawl there is simply more driving time and more chances for fatal accidents to occur.
Areas of Prohibition
Dallas had previously been a patchwork of dry and wet areas, meaning those who lived in the dry areas had to drive farther to imbibe. These areas were in force until 2010. The fact that bars and liquor stores were built in clusters throughout the city is the second reason for such high alcohol-related deaths. After those laws were eradicated some people still had to drive quite a distance to drink or buy alcohol. Cities that never had these types of laws and regulations could build neighborhood bars that people could walk to or drive only a short distance.
Strict Open Container Laws
The third reason fatalities are so high is because of the indirect consequences of open container laws. Stringent open container laws in Dallas were meant to cut back on drinking and driving. This law, which was put in place to receive more federal dollars, had the opposite effect. According to dmagazine.com the government gave Texas $86 million in 2001 for highway projects. Texas agreed to pass the ban on open containers in exchange for the money. If they hadn’t passed the law the government would have withheld the money for roads but given the same amount of money for marketing and educational programs against drunk driving.
What Can Be Done to Curb Alcohol-Related Fatalities?
Dallas has taken several steps in recent years to reduce the number of drunk driving incidents. One of those includes signing into effect a law that requires any drunk driving offender to put an interlock ignition in their car before having their license reinstated. Other suggestions have included lowering the legal blood alcohol limits for driving and increasing the number and types of public transportation.
If you or a loved one has suffered personal injury from a negligent driver the injuries and medical bills can be overwhelming. Branch & Dhillon Law Firm will fight for your legal interests while you focus on recovery. Contact Branch & Dhillon for a free consultation.