Houston Scores Better than Other Texas Cities for Quality Drivers

 Men’s Health Magazine released a study that they recently conducted to see which cities had the best and worst drivers.  Houston ranked 46th in the nation for bad drivers, and Dallas ranked even worse in 14th place for this unceremonious award.  Anyone who has ever visited the beautiful city of Corpus Christi wouldn’t be surprised by their 11th place spot either.  Even the Alamo couldn’t help San Antonio from ranking worse than Houston in the 25th spot. Our state's beautiful capital still ranked worse than us in 41st place.  Luckily for us in Houston, we rank better than four of the most populace cities in Texas. 

They got these results from studying factors that increase drivers’ safety, such as speeding, frequency of car accidents, seat belt usage, and drunk driving stats.  Obviously Houston drivers are doing something wrong to end up on the list of the worst drivers in America. But anyone who spends a lot of time driving in this city doesn’t need Men’s Health Magazine to point that out!  I’m actually surprised that Houston is ranking as low as it is in their study for poor quality drivers.  When I originally saw a report about this study’s findings here, I was shaking my head thinking “of course Houston has the 4th worst drivers in the country”.  Then I read the real report and realized they made a pretty sizeable error interpreting the data. 

Houston is not ranked fourth, or anywhere near the top 10 for cities with the worst drivers.  But Corpus is!  I’m surprised Corpus Christi was not ranked higher honestly.  Corpus Christi has a population of about 308,000 people.  It is a relaxing beach town with many thriving businesses and a great local vibe.  The only bad thing about Corpus Christi is the drivers.  Here’s a tip I learned the hard way in Corpus Christi: when you are on the feeder road, be prepared to stop frequently.  In Corpus Christi, drivers don’t slow down when they exit the freeway because they expect all of the traffic on the feeder road to stop when they see a car exiting.  Needless to say, this town’s drivers need some serious driving lessons.

However annoying unique driving habits in cities are, they are not the reason that these cities ranked high for being the worst cities to drive in.  Look at this table from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; Texas is off the charts for driving fatalities alone, not even considering drunk driving or any other contributing factors.No wonder so many of our cities are on this list!  If you're a DWI lawyer in Houston, Texas you might want to consider living in Corpus Christi. You'll get more clients per capita there.

 

 

References:

National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).  Traffice Safety Facts: State Motor Vehicle Fatalities and State Alcohol-Impaired Motor Vehicle Fatalities, 2011.  http://www-nrd.nhtsa.dot.gov/Pubs/811699.pdf

 

New DWI Task Force for Entire Houston-Galveston Area Announced

 The Houston police department has a DWI task force, and the Galveston Police Department has a DWI task force.  However, plans to form a new regional DWI task force that would unite officers from 13 counties were announced just before Christmas.  The reason for the new task force is supposedly to make better use of the area’s pooled resources.  However, some might see it as overkill.

There are already very large and active DWI task forces operating in both Galveston and Houston.   The Houston-Galveston Area Council (H-GAC) states that the new DWI task force will help out during peak holiday season. The Texas Department of Transportation is footing the bill for the new Houston –Galveston area DWI task force that will only be in operation on holiday weekends.  It seems like the money might be better spent helping the DWI task forces that already exist instead of shoveling out money for a new organization that will only organize during holiday weekends a few times a year. 

A regional DWI task force such as this is unheard of in Texas.  While many mid to large sized cities in Texas have DWI task forces, and even small towns put extra officers on the schedule during the holiday season, a task force 13 counties strong is a first.  The new Houston area task force will put approximately 50 extra patrol cars on the roads during the holiday seasons that are solely dedicated to finding drunk drivers. 

It’s unclear how Houston and Galveston’s DWI task forces feel about the extra patrols.  While initially I thought they would be pleased to have more help on the roads during the busy time, the thought did cross my mind that they would feel uncomfortable with it.  It‘s just like at work when a new department is created to perform your job duties, but you haven’t been fired yet.   Hopefully it will all work out for all of the officers involved.

DWI arrests in the Houston-Galveston area have already gone down tremendously over the last few years. More people are making responsible choices when it comes to drinking and driving.  However, if you find yourself facing drunk driving charges, contact a Houston DWI Lawyer right away.

Holiday No Refusal Blood Draw Back in Houston for 2012

 The holiday blood draw days are back, and they have nothing to do with a blood drive for charity.  Throughout the holidays, up until New Years Day, DWI Task Force and BAT vans will be out in full force.  Extra staff will be on hand to assist police officers in attaining timely search warrants to forcibly draw blood from anyone suspected of driving under the influence or while intoxicated.

The Houston police department (HPD) does not release its strategy or areas of concentration to crack down on drinking and driving during the holidays.  Luckily for people in Houston and throughout Texas, DWI checkpoints are not allowed here.  However, the DWI task force strategically places officers at points of high traffic volume and DWI likelihood. 

If you live in one of the trendy hot spots in Houston with a dense population of nightspots and restaurants such as the heights area (Washington Ave. in particular), Galleria, City Centre, or Westheimer Rd., be extra careful over the holidays.  These areas are not only well known as great destinations for a night out, they are known to law enforcement as high concentration areas for drunk driving.  The Houston DWI task force will be waiting for you to make any little mistake or forget to use a turn signal while driving in these areas.

If you’re going to go out to celebrate at a dinner party, restaurant, or bar over the holidays, make sure you have a designated driver or other transportation arrangements. With Houston police saturating the roads this holiday season, and a no refusal blood draw week ahead, it would be silly to take any unnecessary chances.

However, the holidays are meant for celebrating, and sometimes our judgment calls are not as sharp as we hope they will be.  If you are arrested for DWI or DUI charges, call the Offices of Johnson, Johnson, & Baer, P. C. today.  

Parales to Head Houston DWI Task Force Despite Reprimands

 

 Last month Police Chief Charles McClelland named Daniel S. Parales as the new Houston DWI task force supervisor.  The reason his appointment has provoked so much controversy is because he was reprimanded in April for not charging an HPD officer with a DWI when he was clearly intoxicated.  After colliding with a school bus and testing a BAC of over twice the legal limit, Parales let the officer go and attempted to cover the whole thing up. 

Teresa Argueta was driving the privately owned school bus when the accident occurred, and luckily was the only occupant.  She was later cited for running a stop sign.  Argueta claimed that the vehicle Sergeant Ruben Trejo was driving at the time of the accident contained opened beer and wine bottles, and that Trejo smelled strongly of alcohol. 

Officers who responded to the scene were later reprimanded for not taking the bottles as evidence.  However, the officers claimed that the bottles Argueta spoke of were unopened. 

Teresa Argueta’s son, Aaron Argueta, rushed to the scene of the accident after receiving a phone call from his mother about the accident.  When he arrived he immediately went to the site of impact and attempted to take pictures of the alcohol in the police officer’s car. Argueta claims that the officers threatened to arrest him if he photographed the inside of the car.

Chief McClelland continues to defend his decision of appointing Parales as the new Houston DWI task force supervisor, stating that Parales and the other officers reprimanded in the event will in no way repeat the mistakes they were disciplined for.

Sergeant Trejo was charged with a DWI two weeks after the accident, and has since retired from his position as an HPD Sergeant. 

Aaron Argueta voiced concerns over what he thinks was an obvious cover-up.  He told the media that if he had hit a school bus while driving drunk, he would most certainly be in a penitentiary. 

However, the Houston Police Officer’s union has been extremely critical of McClelland’s punishment towards the HPD officers who responded to the scene of the April 13th accident.  The union thinks that the punishment was unnecessary, and that the officers did not make any mistakes that would warrant such reprimands. 

Even Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) agrees with Parales’ appointment as supervisor of the Houston DWI task force.  MADD says that they are happy with any concentrated efforts to stop drunk driving in Houston.

Public controversy over HPD and other local law enforcement agencies is nothing new in Houston.  Only last month the Harris County Sherriff’s parole department was under scrutiny, and hundreds of drug tests were deemed inadmissible in court.  It is safe to say that Sergeant Trejo will need a good Houston drunk driving lawyer to defend him, as leniency in his trial is highly unlikely.

 

 Last month Police Chief Charles McClelland named Daniel S. Parales as the new Houston DWI task force supervisor.  The reason his appointment has provoked so much controversy is because he was reprimanded in April for not charging an HPD officer with a DWI when he was clearly intoxicated.  After colliding with a school bus and testing a BAC of over twice the legal limit, Parales let the officer go and attempted to cover the whole thing up. 

Teresa Argueta was driving the privately owned school bus when the accident occurred, and luckily was the only occupant.  She was later cited for running a stop sign.  Argueta claimed that the vehicle Sergeant Ruben Trejo was driving at the time of the accident contained opened beer and wine bottles, and that Trejo smelled strongly of alcohol. 

Officers who responded to the scene were later reprimanded for not taking the bottles as evidence.  However, the officers claimed that the bottles Argueta spoke of were unopened. 

Teresa Argueta’s son, Aaron Argueta, rushed to the scene of the accident after receiving a phone call from his mother about the accident.  When he arrived he immediately went to the site of impact and attempted to take pictures of the alcohol in the police officer’s car. Argueta claims that the officers threatened to arrest him if he photographed the inside of the car.

Chief McClelland continues to defend his decision of appointing Parales as the new Houston DWI task force supervisor, stating that Parales and the other officers reprimanded in the event will in no way repeat the mistakes they were disciplined for.

Sergeant Trejo was charged with a DWI two weeks after the accident, and has since retired from his position as an HPD Sergeant. 

Aaron Argueta voiced concerns over what he thinks was an obvious cover-up.  He told the media that if he had hit a school bus while driving drunk, he would most certainly be in a penitentiary. 

However, the Houston Police Officer’s union has been extremely critical of McClelland’s punishment towards the HPD officers who responded to the scene of the April 13th accident.  The union thinks that the punishment was unnecessary, and that the officers did not make any mistakes that would warrant such reprimands. 

Even Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) agrees with Parales’ appointment as supervisor of the Houston DWI task force.  MADD says that they are happy with any concentrated efforts to stop drunk driving in Houston.

Public controversy over HPD and other local law enforcement agencies is nothing new in Houston.  Only last month the Harris County Sherriff’s parole department was under scrutiny, and hundreds of drug tests were deemed inadmissible in court.  It is safe to say that Sergeant Trejo will need a good Houston drunk driving lawyer to defend him, as leniency in his trial is highly unlikely.

 

Future San Francisco Archbishop Arrested for DWI

Salvatore Cordileone is a 56-year-old bishop in Oakland, California.  He was pulled over at a checkpoint near San Diego State University at approximately 10pm while returning home from dinner with a few friends at his mother’s house.  Officers suspected that he was impaired, and administered a breathalyzer field sobriety test.  He was found to be over the limit and booked into the San Diego County jail at around midnight.

California’s DUI charge is the same as a Houston DWI charge, although their names differ slightly.  Although the amount by which he surpassed the legal limit has still not been made public, he would not have passed a breathalyzer in Houston either because Texas and California both consider .08% blood alcohol content to be over the limit.

He has apologized emphatically for bringing shame upon his church and self.  The Pope appointed him to be the next archbishop of San Francisco, which will take place on October 4th assuming that no disciplinary action takes place.  The only party that could discipline him from within the Catholic church is the Vatican.

While Cordileone has apologized for his behavior and no doubt feels anxious about further disciplinary action from both the government and the Vatican, this incident may actually benefit the Bishop.  Luckily none of the passengers in the car that he was driving were injured, but his momentarily lapse of judgment may actually help make this devout Christian more human in the eyes of his community. 

Just like Texas, California has an implied consent law that requires anyone who has a driver’s license to submit to an alcohol or drug test if police officers suspect they are impaired.  This means that Cordileone has already had his driver’s license suspended, and is facing certain jail time.

Houston DWI lawyers fight penalties similar to California’s DUI penalties, which Cordileone will soon be very familiar with if not already.  If convicted, Cordileone will have to file proof of insurance, complete a DUI treatment program, have his driver’s license suspended for six months, pay substantial fines, and serve up to six months in jail.

Apologetic Cordileone and the forgiving Christian community who are supporting him (regardless of his very public mistakes), serve as a shining example of the human spirit.  Cordileone is set to take a position of elevated responsibility within the Catholic church, which has created controversy considering the charges he faces.  However, he retained his dignity in the face of this controversy by his honorable apologies to the public and the church.  He seems honestly sorry for his actions, and the implications they may have on the reputation of his church.