DWI checkpoints proposed to Texas lawmakers

Ignition interlock systems also proposed for first time DWI offenders

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Texas state lawmakers were asked to consider two proposals to crack down on drunk driving at a hearing at the State Capitol on Monday.

The first proposal again included permanent sobriety checkpoints, which is allowed in 38 other states.

However, to get the proposal out of committee during the legislative session, any bill would need guidelines to protect civil rights.

The other proposal would require ignition interlock systems on cars of first time drunk driving offenders.

Ignition interlock systems work by requiring the user to breathe into a handset that can detect alcohol on the breath. If the driver fails, the vehicle won't start.

Judges can currently order them for repeat offenders and in cases of intoxication assault and manslaughter. The bill did not make it out of the last session.

Committee chair State Rep. Pete Gallego, D-Alpine, said drunk driving issues need to be addressed before the driver gets behind the wheel.

"Punishing them afterwards doesn't bring back any victim doesn't make any family feel better. The idea is to stop the DWI before it happens," Gallego said.

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