Holiday DWI: Signs & Statistics

How Police Officers Identify Intoxicated Drivers

‘Tis the season for more instances of driving while intoxicated (DWI). The state of Texas has seen an increased threat of DWI during the holiday season, which occurs from December 1st to January 1st. For instance, there were 2,469 DWI-related crashes during the 2017 holiday season, and of those crashes, 96 were fatal and 202 resulted in serious injuries, reported by the TX Department of Transportation (DOT). That same year, 3,982 traffic crashes occurred during the New Year’s holiday period, resulting in 37 deaths and 123 serious injuries.

With these facts in mind, Texas law enforcement agencies are sending out more patrols to detect drivers who may be impaired or intoxicated by drugs or alcohol. Holidays parties and family gatherings are still to be expected despite COVID-19 concerns, meaning people will celebrate the most wonderful time of year by consuming alcohol. Lots of it. As a result, police officers will be on high alert for intoxicated drivers during the holiday season in particular.

As such, you should be aware of how officers visually detect DWI on the roads. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration compiled a DWI detection guide to help law enforcement officers understand behaviors that are predictive of impairment. They include:

Problems Maintaining Proper Lane Position

  • Weaving
  • Weaving across lane lines
  • Straddling a lane line
  • Swerving
  • Turning with a wide radius
  • Drifting
  • Almost striking a vehicle or other object

Speed and Braking Problems

  • Stopping problems (too far, too short, or too jerky)
  • Accelerating or decelerating for no apparent reason
  • Varying speed
  • Slow speed (10+ mph under limit)

Vigilance Problems

  • Driving in opposing lanes or wrong way on one-way
  • Slow response to traffic signals
  • Slow or failure to respond to the officer’s signals
  • Stopping in a lane for no apparent reason
  • Driving without headlights at night
  • Failure to signal or signal inconsistent with action

Judgment Problems

  • Following too closely
  • Improper or unsafe lane change
  • Illegal or improper turn (too fast, jerky, sharp, etc.)
  • Driving on other than the designated roadway
  • Stopping inappropriately in response to the officer
  • Inappropriate or unusual behavior (throwing, arguing, etc.)
  • Appearing to be impaired

Post-Stop Cues

  • Difficulty with motor vehicle controls
  • Difficulty exiting the vehicle
  • Fumbling with driver’s license or registration
  • Repeating questions or comments
  • Swaying, unsteady, or balance problems
  • Leaning on the vehicle or other object
  • Slurred speech
  • Slow to respond to officer or officer must repeat
  • Providing incorrect information, changes answers
  • Odor of alcoholic beverage from the driver

Charged with DWI? Your Freedom Is at Stake.

The cost of a DWI conviction is high. You could go to jail, pay steep fines, and lose your driver’s license. Without your driving privileges, you cannot go to work, school, appointments, errands, and more, causing massive detriment to your livelihood.

Don’t let this happen to you.

Instead, retain a former prosecutor who has critical insights into both sides of the criminal justice system. As such, our DWI defense lawyer in Fort Worth will be your first line of defense should you hire us to represent you. We will use our insider knowledge to negotiate for the best possible outcome in your case and help minimize the consequences of your allegations.

To schedule your free consultation, contact us online or at (817) 435-4970!


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