At the start of this year's legislative session, Texas lawmakers were ready to enact a slate of bills that would crack down on drunk driving in a variety of new ways. But the session closed last week and as the dust settles, it's looking like not much made it past the idea stage.

Bills that proposed treatment for first-time offenders, required mandatory ignition lock devices to keep drunk drivers from operating their vehicles and that created on-the-road sobriety checkpoints were all ready to go, but most sputtered out and failed to pass. Other bills that failed to make it would have called for permanent revocation of a driver's license after a second drunk-driving conviction and a requirement for first-time offenders to wear an alcohol-detection monitor for 60 days.

Public safety advocates and lawmakers offered a host of reasons for the bills' failure to pass. Some were simply too strict, some lacked funding, some seemed overly invasive and others simply lost momentum or public support.

One bill that is likely to be enacted into law is the Abdallah Khader Act, named for two-year-old boy who from Forth Worth was badly hurt after his family's car was struck by an allegedly repeat-offender drunk driver. That law would increase the penalties for certain drunken-driving offenses. Still, Bill Lewis, public policy liaison for the Texas chapter of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, said the bill would not do too much to deter drunk driving. Lewis also said his organization plans to regroup, assess which bills are realistic and push for their passage in the next legislative session.

Source: Dallas Morning News, "Talk was tough, but Texas DWI legislation largely went nowhere," Diane Jennings, 3 June 2011.