DPS, police on high alert for drunken drivers this holiday week

Posted Thursday, Jul. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints

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For state troopers, the July 4 holiday began Friday and continues through Sunday with increased patrols on the lookout for drunken drivers on Texas highways.

For Tarrant County law enforcement, the holiday started Wednesday night and continues 8 p.m. to 4 a.m. through Sunday. During those hours, a “no refusal” initiative will be in effect in many area cities.

“Participating police agencies will use search warrants to take blood specimens from people who are arrested for driving while intoxicated but refuse to take a breath test,” the Tarrant County district attorney’s office said in a news release.

A $300,430 grant to the county from the state Transportation Department covers some of the costs, including having nurses on duty to draw blood at the North Richland Hills Police Department and the Fort Worth Police Department training academy.

“As usual, those who are arrested and charged with an alcohol-related driving offense during a ‘no refusal’ campaign will have their names and ages published on the DA’s website,” the news release said.

The Texas Department of Public Safety’s increased patrols are also funded by a grant from the state Transportation Department. Last year, troopers made more than 1,200 arrests statewide during the nine days bracketing July 4. There were 133 alcohol-related crashes during the period, the DPS reported.

The Transportation Department’s anti-drunken-driving initiative includes an online feature, “Faces of Drunk Driving.” The latest edition highlights Xitclalli “Chilli” Vasquez, a Fort Worth girl who remains paralyzed from the chest down because of a wreck involving a drunken driver on July 9, 2011, when she was 7. See Chilli’s story online at http://www.facesofdrunkdriving.com.

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