In Saturday’s early morning hours in southwest Austin, Texas, three vehicles were involved in a fatal collision. Authorities with the Austin Police Department said the crash occurred at the intersection of MoPac Expressway and West Slaughter Lane. The driver of a Mercedes Benz traveling westbound on Slaughter Lane ran a red light and crashed into a Chevrolet Prizm that was making a turn. The vehicle that was turning collided with a third vehicle. The driver of the Prizm died shortly after being transported to a nearby hospital, but the other drivers were uninjured. The investigation into the fatal crash is still underway. The driver who ran the red light has been charged with intoxication manslaughter, which is a serious felony charge.
Drunk driving is responsible for about one of every three traffic fatalities in the United States. Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) has been working hard to change laws so that convicted drunk drivers are required to have ignition interlocks. This is an important safety step, since research shows that even a person who has been caught drunk driving before and has paid the penalty is a repeat offender the majority of the time. Those who lose their licenses often continue to drive drunk, making ignition interlocks a more effect deterrent.
Texas led the nation in drunk driving fatalities in 2013, with a total of 1,337 deaths caused by a person driving while intoxicated. There were also 15,687 injuries related to drunk driving crashes.
The punishment for intoxication manslaughter in Texas includes serving up to 20 years in prison. An intoxication assault conviction can include a sentence of up to ten years in prison.