TxDOT announces increased police enforcement to curb Labor Day drunk driving

The announcement comes as Bentley’s Law goes into effect, providing mandatory restitution for orphans whose parents were killed by intoxicated drivers.
A WFPD motorcycle officer
A WFPD motorcycle officer(KAUZ)
Published: Aug. 18, 2023 at 11:52 AM CDT
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WICHITA FALLS, Texas (KAUZ) - The Texas Department of Transportation announced an increased enforcement period for Labor Day to curb drunk driving.

According to the Texas Peace Officer’s Crash Report, 345 DUI-alcohol-related traffic crashes occurred over last year’s Labor Day holiday weekend alone, resulting in 20 fatalities and 62 serious injuries. Over the year, a person was killed every 7 hours and 17 minutes in Texas because of a DUI-alcohol-related traffic crash, resulting in 1,203 people losing their lives.

From Aug. 18 to Sept. 4, Texas law enforcement agencies will increase their efforts to pull over motorists suspected of drunk driving. The increased enforcement period comes as a new law is set to take effect on Sept. 1, requiring someone convicted of intoxication manslaughter to pay child support if they kill a parent with young children.

The new law, also called Bentley’s Law, allows courts to order mandatory monthly restitution for children whose parents were victims of intoxicated manslaughter. With this law, the court will determine how much money a child under 18 is eligible for if a drunk driver killed their parent or guardian, including financial needs for a surviving parent or guardian if only one died. Those ordered to pay restitution and imprisoned for intoxicated manslaughter will begin paying their restitution no later than the first anniversary of their release.

According to Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the idea behind Bentley’s Law is to provide a sense of justice to victims and survivors and make sure offenders are reminded of the heartbreak they caused by choosing to drive impaired.

The law was proposed by a Missouri grandmother in 2021 after a drunk driver killed her grandson’s parents and infant brother. Tennesee was the first state to pass the law, and Gov. Abbott signed the Texas version on June 2, 2023.