At a press conference outside at 10:00 AM in front of the HPD Central Patrol Station, 61 Riesner, members of the Houston Police Department's Traffic Enforcement Division, the Harris County District Attorney's Office, the Harris County Sheriff's Office, and the Texas Department of Public Safety announced a joint initiative targeting drunk driving. Following the presentation, officers took questions from the press corps.
The initiative is designed to reduce drunk driving accidents and associated fatalities by a combination of public education and a heightened enforcement of drinking and driving offenses. For several years, Houston has lead the nation in traffic fatalities related to drunk driving. The problem is particularly acute in March with three major celebrations, the Houston Rodeo, Saint Patrick's Day, and Spring Break for colleges. (links to official Houston Rodeo, activities of Young Active Professionals, and Student Travel websites). Last year, there were 15 traffic fatalities of which 9 were alcohol-related. Some arrests have already occurred at this year's rodeo.
Many are unaware that under Texas law, if a person is arrested for a 4th DUI offense, the vehicle can also be confiscated. See Title 7, chapters 521-524 for other relevant provisions. Officers urge citizens expect to drink to a point of intoxication to plan their celebrations in advance and choose designated drivers, public transportation taxi's or other safe means to return home.