Austin police step up enforcement to curb traffic deaths
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As in years past, Super Bowl Sunday brought parties to every part of the city and Austin police officers were out to make sure those who were drinking didn't get behind the wheel.
Austin police enforced their No Refusal initiative on Super Bowl Sunday, meaning that drivers suspected of driving drunk could be subjected to a blood test even if they say no to a breathalyzer.
Despite stepped up enforcement programs like No Refusal, traffic deaths were on the rise in the Capital City.
Last year, 80 people were killed on Austin roadways, up from 53 in 2011 and 48 in 2010.
TxDOT statistics show that 35 percent of fatal crashes in 2011 were alcohol-related, but alcohol isn’t the only threat. According to TxDOT, 13 percent of the deadly crashes were caused by distracted driving.
"It's the technology age and that is how we are communicating, Texting, and driving is like a part of our routine,” Anh Nguyen said.
While several cities—including Austin—have passed ordinances banning texting behind the wheel, there is no state law prohibiting it. The issue that has come before Texas lawmakers in the past, but Perry vetoed it, saying any such law would violate personal freedom.
Lawmakers introduced a bill last week with bipartisan backing which would ban texting while driving
"It is scary when you see people and they are texting away and they don't know what they are doing and it scares me," Rayna Mclouth said.
Austin police charged 21 drivers for driving while intoxicated during this No Refusal initiative. Last year, police charged 17 people with DWI on the night of the Super Bowl.