According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 1992, more people were arrested for Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) in the country than any other criminal offense. In that year, more than 1.6 million people were arrested for DWI, while only 1.5 million people were arrested for theft and 1.1 million were arrested for drug-related offenses.
“There is public concern that many of these drivers arrested each year for DWI are repeat offenders. There is also convincing evidence that repeat offenders as a group are high risk problem drinker drivers,” according to the NHTSA. In an effort to learn more about repeat DWIs, the NHTSA requested to see the available information from all states so it could better understand the magnitude of the problem.
What the NHTSA Discovered
After looking at the data from all states, the NHTSA discovered that on average, about 31% to 32% of all drivers arrested/convicted of DWI are repeat offenders. One study that involved California found that for every driver who was convicted of Driving Under the Influence (DUI) in 1980, within 10 years a whopping 44% of them would be convicted of DUI again.
According to the data examined by the NHTSA, about one-third of all drivers who are arrested for DWI are repeat offenders, and 1 in 8 intoxicated drivers who are involved in fatal crashes have been convicted of DWI in the previous three years, however, repeat DWI offenders are not responsible for most of the DWIs in the United States. The most rational approach to the problem is to effectively deal with first-time DWI offenders, according to the NHTSA.
How Big is DWI in Texas?
“About every 20 minutes in Texas, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol. We urge you to take responsibility for your actions. Don’t drink and drive,” according to the Texas Department of Transportation.
Generally, a first or second DWI is a misdemeanor if there are no aggravating factors, but a third offense is a felony, punishable by a $10,000 fine, from 2 to 10 years in prison, a loss of driver’s license for up to two years, and an annual fee up to $2,000 for three years to retain one’s driver’s license.
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