Defensive driving courses are usually found with curricula designed to teach how to drive safely, and in classrooms there are also some grim tales of the results of drunk driving to go along with evocative photos.
While tactics like these to show the grim realities of what can happen when someone is driving while intoxicated have been around for years, officals at the Midlands Adult Probation Office have taken that a step further. In a bid to reduce the number of repeat DWI offenders, they have begun working on moving many of their charges into counseling programs in the hope that it will make a difference.
They have also taken the mangled car from a local Stop DWI program and placed it and the trailer it comes on next to the office, hoping that offenders who have not caused other people harm will be affected by the carnage. Officials say the car belonged to Kayla Grissom, a woman who died as a result of a drunk driver in 2006.
"We have all these people who come to our office, and we thought, 'Wouldn't it be great if we could let them see it every time they come in our port?'" deputy director Allen Bell told the Midland Reporter-Telegram. He went on to note that part of the counseling sessions for convicted offenders revolve around trips to the trailer, where counselors and probation officers focus the attendees' attention on the metal shell.
Nearly 1,500 Texans lost their lives as a result of alcohol-related crashes, and the combination of online defensive driving courses
and substance abuse counseling initiatives taken by officers like those in Midland could do wonders to reduce that rate, members of the Stop DWI program say. They argue that the potential for state budget shortfalls to cut similar programs in prisons could have an adverse effect on reducing the statistic.
One of the easiest ways to save yourself the heartache, the legal bills and the potential guilt is to assign a designated driver if you plan on drinking. It was one of the organization's main messages during April, which is Alcohol Awareness Month. While May begins next week, organizers are hopeful that the addition of their presentations to defensive driving courses will help drivers make the right choice.
The escalating nature of fines in Texas driving code is another cause for concern for people who may have previously considered driving if they've only "had a couple." Even the misdemeanor offense will end up costing you $3,000 over the course of three years, in addition to court and counseling fees. Worse, if you fall behind on your payments you could lose your license, requiring another set of annual fees of $250.
Changes for less affluent motorists may be coming, but the clear lesson in the media and in the classroom of each Texas internet driver safety course
is this: it is better to be safe than sorry, poor and potentially at fault because you chose to drive when you weren't physically able.