HOUSTON (FOX 26) - With Labor Day approaching, a joint effort has been announced for two "no refusal" weekends which will include two satellite locations that will be set up to process driving while intoxicated cases more quickly.
Harris County leads the U.S. in intoxicated driving-related deaths over the last sixteen consecutive years. Sean Teare, the Harris County District Attorney’s Office Vehicular Crimes Division Chief, said enough is enough.
“This has proven over and over to be one of the most dangerous times of the year,” said Teare.
Along with going after intoxicated drivers, law enforcement officers are also investigating establishments that sell alcohol to minors and are operating after hours.
“We want everybody to be responsible with alcohol, so no family has to endure the loss of a child or parent,” said Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg. “Here are three tips: Don’t serve anyone who is drunk. Don’t serve anyone under 21. And if you are drinking, don’t drive.”
HCDAO is working together with the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, the Harris County Sheriff’s Office and the Harris County Precinct One Constable’s Office.
“With our county continuing to lead the nation in alcohol-related roadway deaths, we must do all we can to address these tragic and preventable crashes,” added Teare.
Bentley Nettles, executive director of the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, said his agency is sending a message and taking action.
“TABC wants alcohol retailers to know that any sale of alcohol to a minor presents an unacceptable safety risk,” said Nettles.
“TABC will continue to provide training and educational materials to retailers to help them make the right decision when it comes to keeping alcohol out of minors’ hands,” added Nettles. “However, in those cases where a violation takes place, we will work with our partners at the Harris County DA’s office, as well as local law enforcement, to hold retailers accountable for their actions.”
More law enforcement officers will be in the streets, and more prosecutors and nurses available to support them with the writing of warrants and obtaining blood samples to measure levels of alcohol or other drugs in the systems of person’s suspected of driving under the influence.
“To all those people with the tremendous responsibility of serving and selling alcohol, follow the law and you have nothing to worry about,” said Teare. “But, if you sell to minors, or over-serve intoxicated people, we will find you and put you in jail.”
The Texas Department of Transportation is funding the 'no refusal' initiative with a special grant.