To combat the serious and often deadly problem of impaired driving, local law enforcement agencies will join together Labor Day Weekend to launch Ector County’s first “No Refusal” Weekend. All suspected impaired drivers who refuse breath testing will be subject to blood testing to determine their blood-alcohol concentration.
In Ector County, as well as the rest of the nation, anyone driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of .08 grams per deciliter or higher is considered legally impaired. On a first offense, this is a Class B Misdemeanor. Beginning September 1, 2011, if the (BAC) is .15 or higher, the offense is enhanced to a class A Misdemeanor.
In 2010, there were 25,032 alcohol-related crashes in Texas, resulting in 1,057 deaths and 16,877 injuries. Texas leads the nation in alcohol-related crashes and fatalities. Of those, 24% were young people between the ages of 20 to 25, even though this age-bracket is only 9% of the population. Most occurred on Saturday, and the greatest number occurred between 2:00 and 3:00 a.m.
BAC test refusals are increasing across the nation. The “No Refusal Weekend” is designed to address this issue. Police and other law enforcement officials work in coordination with prosecutors and judges to quickly obtain “blood draw warrants” for drivers who refuse BAC testing. With the approval of a judge, anyone suspected of impaired driving who unlawfully refuses to provide a breath sample is subject to blood testing at the scene, a medical facility, or nearest jail facility. In this case, offenders will be transported to a medical facility for testing.
Joining in Ector County’s First “No-Refusal” Weekend are: Texas Department of Public Safety; Ector County Sheriff’s Office; Odessa Police Department; U.T.P.B. Police; Judge Susan Redford; Justice of the Peace Chris Clark; Municipal Court Judge Carol Gregg; Judge Joe Connally; Municipal Court Judge Dennis Jones; Judge James Rush; Ector County District Attorney’s Office; Odessa Regional Medical Center; Stop DWI/TWD, Inc.; and the Ector County Attorney’s Office.
via Cindy Weir-Nutter