Texas lawmakers are considering becoming one of the more than 30 states that allow police to set up DWI checkpoints throughout the state. The House Committee on Criminal Jurisprudence is considering a checkpoint bill as well as a bill that would require first-time drunk driving offenders to install ignition interlock devices in their vehicles.

Both of these intoxication offense bills have supporters as well as opponents. A Republican representative supports both bills, saying they will help make the roads safer and give Texas authorities another tool to utilize as they crack down on drunk driving. He added that ignition interlock devices are much cheaper than sending a person to jail.

Others, however, are not so keen on the possible new legislation. A local defense lawyer cited statistics showing that just over 1 percent of vehicles stopped in sobriety checkpoints end up being arrested for DWI. He added that many other arrests end up taking place that are unrelated to drunk driving. Other opponents of the bill say that police working in the field are able to catch drunk drivers without checkpoints.

The ignition interlock device bill has also seen significant opposition. The American Bar Institute, an association that represents close to 600 Texas restaurants, is against the use of these devices. In a statement, it said the ignition interlock bill fails to reach serious DWI offenders. Others argue that it would be too easy for individuals to avoid using an ignition interlock device by borrowing a friend's car or disabling the device.

In order for the bills to move forward, they must be voted out of the committee. Then a vote in the House can take place. Some say, however, that it could be too late in the session for the bills to be passed.

Source: KCEN TV: "Lawmakers look to curb DWI's in Texas," 12 April 2011