Friday begins Phase 2 of Gov. Greg Abbott's plan to Open Texas, and that means after more than two months bars can welcome customers again.
Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall said her department would step-up patrols in areas known to have issues around bars and nightclubs.
“We go back to what we know. The intelligence lets us know that where our bars are there are potential victims, thus there are potential suspects,” Hall said. “Being in those areas and making sure that those things don’t happen. That is a part of our Summer Crime Initiative.”
Texas leads the nation in alcohol-related road fatalities and the Arlington Police Department’s DWI Enforcement Unit will continue efforts to keep drunken drivers off the roads.
“This weekend, we are definitely in a no-refusal weekend. So, if you do go out and drink and drive and you are arrested for DWI we’ll ask for a blood test to test your alcohol level,” Arlington Police Officer David Hinson said. “If you refuse, then we are going to go out and we are going to get a search warrant. We have judges ready to sign search warrants for blood and we’re definitely going to enforce the DWIs just to keep the public safe.”
According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, about 37% of all traffic deaths over Memorial Day Weekend are caused by drunk driving every year.
MADD urged individuals to use taxis, public transportation, rideshare services, or call a non-drinking friend if their Memorial Day Weekend plans include alcohol.
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The combination of the three-day holiday weekend and easing of restrictions is expected to put more cars on the road as people begin to venture out after months of isolation, MADD said.
“We know life is different for all of us this year. Stay-at-home orders have meant fewer tragedies on our roads,” MADD National President said. “While we can only hope that this trend continues, the fact is that we don’t know what to expect. We do know that even during the pandemic, drunk driving hasn’t stopped.”
MADD is teaming up with law enforcement virtually and in-person to support the efforts of officers. The organization is also providing virtual supportive services for victims of drunk and drugged driving amid the pandemic.
MADD’s helpline is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week at 877-MADD-HELP.
“Our staff and volunteers at MADD have been busy all along, because we know isolation can add incredible stress to someone who is grieving,” Bill Cardamon, MADD Texas Executive Director, said. “Life might be returning to normal for some, but for victims of drunk and drugged driving, life will never be the same. Now, more than ever, we are determined to create a nation of No More Victims.”