The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration wanted to know how many people were convicted of more than one DUI. Twelve states responded to the NHTSA’s request and the numbers were surprising.

The NHTSA learned that almost 33 percent of all arrests for DUI involved someone who was a repeat drunk driving offender. However, there was some additional information that was very troubling. The data showed that a repeat DUI offender was 4.1 times more likely to be involved in a fatal motor vehicle accident than someone who is a first-time offender.

The penalties in Texas increase with each conviction for DUI. The first conviction carries up to a $2,000 fine, license suspension for up to two years, possible jail time of three to 180 days, $2,000 annual surcharge to keep his or her license for three years and alcohol education programs. The second offense brings more significant penalties, including up to a $4,000 fine, up to a year in jail and the suspension of his or her license for up to two years. For the third DUI in Texas, he or she is facing a fine of up to $10,000 and prison time of between two and 10 years, as well as other penalties.

You would think that the seriousness of the criminal penalties and the possibility of seriously injuring or killing someone in a drunk driving accident would keep people from driving while intoxicated. Unfortunately, that isn’t often the case. As a result, it may become necessary for those who are injured in a drunk driving accident that was not their fault to seek compensation through the civil court system.

Source: drunkdrivingstats.org, “Repeat Drunk Driving Offenders” Dec. 16, 2014