North Texas

Police Step Up Holiday DWI Patrols

In some cities like Arlington, blood draws are mandatory

Police across North Texas are stepping up patrols targeting drunk drivers during the holiday season, and in some cities, blood draws are now mandatory.

"It's the most preventable crime that we always talk about day in and day out," said Arlington police Lt. Chris Cook, a former traffic sergeant. "It's a revolving door. Arrest after arrest after arrest."

In Arlington, officers no longer ask suspected drunk drivers to blow into a machine to test their alcohol level. They demand a blood sample, which provides better evidence if the case goes to trial.

"We're not going to take you to jail and do a breathalyzer," Cook said. "We're going to ask you for a blood sample. If you refuse, we'll obtain a search warrant that's reviewed by a neutral magistrate. If they sign off, we'll go straight to the hospital. We'll draw blood and we'll wait for those results."

According to the Texas Department of Transportation, 940 people died in drunk driving crashes in 2018 -- that's 26% of all traffic fatalities.

The worst hour for alcohol-related fatalities is between 2 a.m. and 3 a.m., and the worst night of the week is Saturday, TxDOT said.

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