The Austin Police Department says there are 5,000 to 6,000 DWI arrests each year in Austin. They say their goal isn’t to increase this number, it’s actually to stop folks from driving under the influence altogether.
Memorial Day Weekend is around the corner, where researchers say drunk driving deaths are four times higher around this time. So you'll see No Refusal Weekend from May 24th until June 10th. This means officers will be able to draw blood forcefully from drivers who are unwilling to submit a sobriety test.
This isn’t a new initiative. No Refusal has been happening every weekend this year so far in Austin, and it's something APD attributes for bringing down the number of fatalities caused by intoxication in Austin.
ValuePenguin who released those numbers says Austin doesn't have numbers as high as Dallas, Houston, and San Antonio. APD agrees. Here are the fatalty numbers attributed to intoxication in Austin.
In 2016 - there were 30 deaths.
In 2017 - there were 24.
This year (2018) APD couldn't get us those numbers due to pending toxicology.
Detective Michael Jennings with APD’s DWI Unit says another rising drug driving. Folks being under the influence of drugs while driving, which is also an offense. Even if it's prescribed to you. Detective Jennings says Austin’s fatalities caused by intoxication needs to be zero, something his task force tries to achieve year round.
"I think a lot of times people aren't making a conscious decision saying they'll go out and hurt or kill somebody that's not what it is. But I think they make bad decisions of getting in the car."