Firsthand Account, Why Not To Drink And Drive

All Texas counties will take part in a "no refusal" program this Fourth of July holiday. That means more police will be out looking for motorists who decide to get behind the wheel drunk.

"No refusal" means motorists suspected of driving while intoxicated, who refuse to submit to a breathalyser, will be taken to jail and ordered by a judge to give a blood sample.

Sean Carter TxDot calls July Fourth the deadliest holiday of the year for alcohol-related crashes, and Harris County leads the country in drunk driving. This is Assistant District Attorney Todd Keagle:

"People need to realize if I drink and drive, I'm looking at more than just maybe one day in jail. And if they kill someone, they need to know that, personally I think they should go to prison for life. And if the punishments are severe, I think people will think more."

This year's campaign has a face. Sean Carter suffered a massive brain injury 7 years ago when the vehicle he was a passenger in slammed into a tree on his side. Both he and the driver had been drinking. The driver was not hurt, but the accident left Sean unable to walk or talk. He now communicates with the help of a computer.

"If I knew then that the decision I would make the night of March 27, 2005 would affect the rest of my life, putting me here in this wheelchair unable to walk or talk, you can bet I would have not done what I did."

He and his mother Jenny Carter now tour the country with a message:

"We had to look beyond ourselves and our own tragedy, and try to prevent anyone else having to live this kind of life. That's why we do what we do."

Last year, there were 11 alcohol-related accidents, two of them fatal, and 59 arrests for DWI in Harris County.

Sean Carter and mother

Bio photo of Pat Hernandez

Pat Hernandez

Reporter

Pat Hernandez is a general assignments reporter who joined the KUHF news staff in February of 2008...