A new law aimed at reducing repeat drunk driving offenses in Texas officially went into effect this week. The law, signed by Governor Greg Abbott on June 19, 2015, requires all first time drunk driving offenders install an ignition interlock system in their vehicles, to have their driving privileges restored following a DUI arrest. It’s aimed at preventing the driver from starting up their vehicle should they have an above the legal limit blood alcohol content (BAC) of 0.08% or higher.

MADD spokeswoman, and National President Colleen Sheehey-Church applauds Governor Abbott for signing the new bill. “As we remind everyone to Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over, we are relieved to add Texas to the growing list of states that have taken action to protect residents and visitors from the 100 percent preventable crime of drunk driving,” Sheehey-Church said.

Local law enforcement officers are hopeful the new law will make drivers more aware of the consequences of drinking and driving. Last summer in Texas, 336 people were killed and 680 were seriously injured in alcohol-related crashes. Texas drivers convicted of DWI already face up to $17,000 in costs, possible jail time, limited career prospects and loss of drivers license, and still, even with all these penalties in place, according to the Texas Department of Transportation, someone is hurt or killed in a crash involving alcohol every 20 minutes in Texas.

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