Archive for the ‘DUI’ Category

San Antonio Drunk Driving Crashes: Lives Forever Changed

Two friends headed out one night recently in San Antonio. One never made it home. The other now faces more than a decade behind bars on charges of intoxication manslaughter in the death of her friend.

Drunk driving accident lawyers in San Antonio understand that speed and alcohol allegedly played a part in the crash. The passenger was declared dead at the scene. The women, both in their 20s, were cousins as well as best friends, authorities say.

April is Alcohol Awareness Month. The lives of these two women are forever changed, but it may not be too late to reach others. It’s a relevant time to point out that Texas leads the nation in drunk driving deaths.

Drunk driving a top killer of Texas drivers

According to figures from Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), in 2012, there were nearly 1,300 people killed in drunk driving crashes in Texas. That accounted for nearly 40 percent of all traffic deaths in the state, and was a 7 percent increase from 2011.

The organization further estimated that the total number of alcohol-related crashes in the state in 2012 was somewhere around 26,000, costing taxpayers an estimated $6 billion in losses. The average alcohol-related fatality costs the state of Texas about $4.7 million.

One increasing area of concern is the use of alcohol by those under the age of 21. A recent survey submitted to Congress by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration indicated that 26 percent of those aged 12 to 20 in Texas reported using alcohol within the last 30 days. That amounts to about 821,000 youth. Binge alcohol use by this same cohort in the last month was about 17.5 percent, or roughly 550,000 youth.

Risk of this kind of behavior spikes right around now, as we approach graduation season. Far too frequently, celebrations involve alcohol, and with that comes the greater risk of a drunk driving crash.

Alcohol use among teens a growing concern in Texas

The Foundation for Advancing Alcohol Responsibility reports that in 2012, there were 170 Texas teens killed in impaired driving crashes. That’s roughly 13 percent of the total, which is especially concerning when you consider that it’s illegal for anyone under 21 to drink in the first place.

Of those drunk drivers involved in fatal crashes, 72 percent had a blood-alcohol of 0.15 percent or higher, which is nearly double the legal limit.

For teens, alcohol is by far the deadliest drug. The National Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University reports that a 16-year-old is more likely to die of an alcohol-related issue (including drunk driving) than anything else.

Some parents mistakenly believe that teens may be safer if they drink supervised in their own home. This isn’t so, and Texas dram shop laws (specifically Texas §2.01 et seq) holds that adults who serve alcohol to minors can be held civilly liable if anything happens to that teen or if that teen subsequently causes someone else to be hurt.

It’s simply not worth it.

Teens aren’t the only ones harmed by drunk driving, of course, but they are disproportionately affected, and parents should take note. This is an opportunity to open a discussion and underscore your beliefs and expectations.

Meanwhile, MADD is gearing up for the 2015 legislative session in an effort to bolster anti-drunk driving laws, to allow for legalization of sobriety checkpoints (which state law currently forbids) and the requirement of ignition interlocks for all DUI offenders, not just those who have been arrested more than once.

Contact a San Antonio drunk driving attorney at the Herrera Law Firm. Call 800-455-1054 for a free case consultation.

Texas DOT Puts Drunk Driving Victims in the Spotlight to Prevent DUI Accidents

Jul 2013

Drunk driving accidents can be devastating to those involved and the state of Texas has consistently lead the nation in terms of both high rates of drunk driving accidents and high rates of deaths as a result of DWI crashes. The Texas Department of Transportation is currently trying to reduce the number of drunk drivers in Texas with a new public education campaign.

Our San Antonio injury lawyers know that the summer is a prime time for drunk driving, with both the Fourth of July and Labor Day providing time off for people to enjoy beers and barbecues. Teens off for summer vacation who may be spending time out with friends may also be more likely to drive drunk. Hopefully, the new Texas DOT campaign will encourage drivers this summer and beyond to think twice about getting behind the wheel drunk.

Texas DOT’s New Drunk Driving Awareness Campaign

The Texas DOT’s new campaign to raise awareness of the dangers of intoxicated driving is called “Faces of Drunk Driving.” According to Fox San Antonio, the campaign involves sharing the stories of people who have been personally affected by a drunk driving accident.

The idea behind the campaign is to show the real-world impact that a decision to drive drunk can have on people’s lives. While drunk driving statistics shed light on the high number of fatalities and injuries, these statistics are just numbers and people may not be swayed to change their behavior as a result of a tally of faceless, nameless victims.

When real people share their own personal life experiences, on the other hand, drivers may be more inclined to stop and think about whether the risk of drunk driving is really worth taking.

One of the victims speaking out is a nine-year-old girl, a native of Fort Worth who was just shy of eight years old at the time when she was involved in a drunk driving accident. The young girl was in a mini-van when the drunk driver hit her on her way back from a haircut and she is now paralyzed for the rest of her life. reported that the young girl said she was sad she could no longer play with her brother and that she said she prayed every day to be able to walk again.

Other victims who are part of the campaign include parents whose son was killed by an intoxicated driver. The parents not only tell their story but also travel with the wrecked car that their son was in at the time when the intoxicated driver hit him.

These and other victims will be featured in videos and will be part of events held throughout Texas that have been organized by the Department of Transportation. Hopefully when they share their stories, any driver considering getting behind the wheel drunk will realize that the chances of a serious crash are just not worth it.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

San Antonio drunk driving accident kills 4 people in wrong-way, head-on crash

Apr 2013

SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Four Brackettville, Texas family members died this past weekend when a drunk truck driver crashed head-on while driving the wrong way on U.S. 90 in San Antonio, leaving the close-knit community distraught, angry and frustrated.

Drunk truck driver accidents wreak havoc on San Antonio’s highways. That’s why the Herrera Law Firm takes such a tough stance against Texas drunk driving accidents. The Texas drunk truck driver accident lawyers at our firm have seen firsthand how such accidents can turn the lives of entire families upside down in an instant. As one of the leading San Antonio drunk driving law firms, the Herrera Law Firm works tirelessly for families directly affected by such accidents. We do this because we realize such accidents are about more than just money. They’re about justice, about holding reckless people responsible for their actions.

Two Brackett High School students and their parents died in the accident around midnight on Saturday, April 13th, according to Kenneth and Melissa Koontz, and their two daughters, Madison and Marley Ann, died at the scene. Madison was a senior and Marley a freshman, school officials told The only survivor in the Koontz family was seventh-grader Zachary.

Carrollton, Texas truck driver Ruben Galindo, 60, has been charged with four counts of intoxicated manslaughter. He remained in jail Monday on a $1 million bond, according to the news station  Police are still investigating why Galindo was driving his big rig the wrong way on U.S. 90 West near the Loop 1604 exit when the accident occurred.

The Koontz family was returning home from a University Interscholastic League competition, where Madison was “singled out for her performance in a one-act play Saturday,” reported. “You couldn’t have asked for a more model family for character and integrity,” Brackett High School principal Kevin Newsom told the web site.

Saturday’s car accident was the deadliest car crash in San Antonio this year, according to police. So far this year, 50 people have died in fatal auto accidents in the city, 12 more than at this time last year, according to

Group Aims to Curb Texas DUI Fatalities

Dec 2012

An advocacy group in Midland, Texas, about 5 hours north of San Antonio, is working hard to put the brakes on DUI fatalities in the state by pushing a hike in taxes on beer.

San Antonio DUI accident attorneys understand that the group is working to at least have the issue discussed on the floor of either the state House or Senate.

No formal bill has been drafted, but the group, Stop DUI, says that per capita, Texas residents drink more beer than those in any other state, and lead the nation in DUI crashes.

And they’re right.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Association reports that of the 37,261 DUI fatalities in 2008, 3,382 were in Texas. That accounts for 9 percent of all DUI fatalities in the country. Only California had more, with 3,434 DUI deaths that year.

Of all the crashes in Texas involving DUI last year, the  Texas Department of Transportation reports that Bexar County was among the highest in the state, with 2,016. Only one other county ranked higher, with 2,657 DUI crashes.

Of the 1,039 people killed in Texas DUI crashes last year, 109 were pedestrians, 155 were passengers driven by the DUI driver and 140 were people in other vehicles.

Whether a measure increasing beer taxes would actually curb the number of DUI fatalities in the state remains to be seen. However, given the scope of the problem, it certainly seems worth a shot.

The advocacy group suggests that by raising excise taxes by just five cents, the state could generate roughly $315 million annually in revenue (which gives you an idea of how much Texans like their beer). What they are proposing is a tax increase of 19 cents per gallon (which is what it is now) to 35 cents per gallon – a 16-cent-per-gallon increase. In neighboring states like New Mexico and Oklahoma, it’s 41 and 40 cents, respectively.

Last November, the state reportedly made approximately $8 million on beer and ale excise taxes, according to News West 9. The group estimates that such a tax hike could generate another $4 million per month.

That may be enough to spur legislators to act on the measure, if the benefit to the safety of Texas motorists isn’t.

Still, will people actually drink less if it costs more?

It may depend on how steep the increase. Although previous research has shown that slight fluctuations don’t impact a person’s willingness to buy or consume alcohol, a recent Canadian study reveals differently.

Scientists in British Columbia reviewed data from 1989 through 2010. After factoring in various economic indicators, they found a direct link between the increase in prices and a reduction of alcohol consumption. But the amount mattered.

For every 10 percent increase in the minimum price of an alcoholic drink, they found the consumption fell about 6.8 percent for liquor, 8.9 percent for wine, 13.9 percent for ciders and 1.5 percent for beers. So it’s not an exact correlation, but it can be affected.

Additionally, it’s important to note that this study focused only on alcohol that is legally sold. Alcohol purchased or consumed by minors couldn’t be effectively measured.

Unlike in Canada, the U.S. government does not set a minimum price on alcohol, and it is up to the state to determine taxes on such goods.

Four years ago, legislators in Texas tried to approve a measure that would raise excise taxes on alcohol, along with soda and candy. The bill passed, but by the time it did, alcohol had been dropped from the list.

If you’ve been injured in a San Antonio DUI accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a confidential consultation.