According to data taken from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), in Bexar county 41% (61) of the 149 fatalities had alcohol involved. This is below Harris county (Houston) 49%, Dallas county 44%, Tarrant county (Ft. Worth) 44%, and slightly above Travis county (Austin) 39%. In Texas, 40% (1235) of the 3071 fatalities were tied to an alcohol-related crash. The 2010 data is not yet available due to pending investigations and results from toxicology reports for the later months.
Fear is being shot into all the San Antonio drivers and parents, because of these numbers and the idea that San Antonio is slipping into an utter state of debauchery. Never mind that in 2009 Texas reflected a downward trend in the number of alcohol-related crash deaths in the U.S. since 2006.
I didn’t imagine that I would write a DWI story, but I found myself feeling guilty for my love of drink and a good time. However, the partier and alcohol drinker has been demonized to be a careless and carefree whoremonger who wants to kill the innocent.
The fact of the matter is that the vast majority of people who drink, do so responsibly. The numbers also reflect that the vast majority of driving fatalities are not alcohol related. However, I understand that any fatality from any crash represents a tragedy that was never intended to happen. The DWI stories that tend to frustrate the public are the ones that involve non-drinkers being killed by intoxicated drivers, but that doesn’t negate the fact that innocent people are also killed in non-alcohol related traffic accidents as well.
I’m not saying that San Antonio should be more lax with the amount of officers patrolling in the wee hours of the morning as people are leaving bars, restaurants, and parties, but I am saying that people in San Antonio needn’t panic about the amount of DWI’s happening in our city. While they are still happening, they are happening at a lesser rate and show a downward trend.
All of us have the responsibility to know our limits of drinking alcohol and when to pass the keys. Many people choose to drink and drive, because they don’t want to have to retrieve their cars in the morning. There is a great service that recently came to San Antonio called Be My Designated Driver (bemydd.com). For $12.50-$15.00 an hour, they will have a driver sent to your home, drive you and your friends to your destination, and wait for you until your ready to be driven home. They will then come and pick this driver up from your home after you’re safely in bed or in your bathroom puking your brains out.
Of course this is one of many alternatives to getting home, but know that we all have a responsibility to show that drinking and having a good time is not the cause of DWI deaths; irresponsible people are.