Check out some of the articles that we have provided to improve your safe driving skills in Tomball & Spring, TX!
DUI For Minors in Texas
March 21st, 2013 As fatality trends continue to show little sign of remediating, driving under influence of alcohol (DUIA) laws in Texas are bringing down harsher punishments. The following is a rundown of the policies that driving schools teach, and how to avoid losing your license and future by making a terrible decision.
DUI Fatalities in Texas
As driving schools throughout Texas are doing their best to highlight; the Lone Star State does have issues with drunk driving. For the past several years, Texas has led the country in drunken driving fatalities. Texas is also the only state in the country to consistently clear 1,000 fatalities (1,235 in 2009, 1,258 in 2010, and 1270 in 2011). These statistics aren’t even including alcohol related injury and property damage, which are numbers that climb even higher.
The truth that must be confronted is that Texas has a clear problem with intoxication and driving. Driving schools continue to teach and inform the gravity of the ever increasing drunk driving penalties. Good habits begin in driving school and stretch into the future, as roughly 15% of drunken driving fatalities are due to the impairment of a driver under 21 years old (the legal drinking limit). Harsher laws have been developed in an attempt to curb the increasing mortalities; laws that can severely debilitate a young driver’s financial and driving independence. The following is a rundown of some of the underage drinking and driving laws in Texas, and how those laws can make things harder for a minor who runs the risk and is caught.
Firstly, Texas is a Zero Tolerance state. This means that if a minor who is pulled over under suspicion is found to have ANY DETECTABLE amount of alcohol in their system, they have immediately committed a DUIA (Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol) crime; even if their BAC is under the legal limit. As a minor, they should have no contact with alcohol to begin with, thus driving while drinking any amount is that much more serious.
When pulled over, the minor will be asked to submit to a breathalyzer test to check their BAC. Once again, if any BAC level is blown, the minor will be charged. However, refusing the test could be much worse. Refusing the breathalyzer, blood test, or field sobriety test will result in IMMEDIATE license suspension for a minimum of 120 days, with suspension increasing for a second and third offense. On top of the suspension, the minor can be placed in jail and held until bond is made or they appear before a magistrate of Juvenile Court.
The penalties themselves are very much reliant on oh the judge’s discretion, though there are definite benchmarks of minimum and maximum. The givens laws for DUIA offenses are:
1st Offense DUIA – Class C misdemeanor with up to a $500.00 fine and between 20-40 hours community service. Driver’s license can be suspended for up to a full year, and completion of an Alcohol Awareness Course at driving school is required. If the minor is under 18, their parent may be required to take the course as well.
2nd Offense DUIA – Class C misdemeanor with up to a $500.00 fine and between 40-60 hours community service. License suspension for up to a full year as well as the Alcohol Awareness Course is required.
3rd Offense DUIA – If the driver is under 17, the DUIA is filed as “Delinquent Conduct.” Punishment is up to a $500.00 fine and between 40-60 hours community service. License will be suspended until the minor is 19 years or older.
– If the minor is 17 years or older, the DUIA is a class B misdemeanor that carries a fine of at least $500.00 up to $2,000.00, 40-60 hours community service, and up to 180 days in jail.
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The trouble simply is not worth the risk. Thousands of adults and children meet their end each year due to a preventable drunken driving accident. These laws are in place to deter and prevent fatalities so that we can begin to chip away at these regrettable statistics. For more information, contact your local driving school. And remember, Zero Tolerance.
Drinking and Driving
December 18, 2012 - Making one wrong decision can land you in hot water in terms of legal woes. Or worse, you or someone else could end up in a hospital bed due to a reckless mistake. Texas needs to refocus attention to changes in their state’s DUI laws to stem the frightening trend of drunk driving in the Lone Star State.
The privilege of driving is dependent on the safety and responsibility of the driver in question, and that is based on the driver’s decision making. Sadly, in the state of Texas, drivers lead the national average in poor decision making in regards to drunk driving and DUI charges (driving under influence). Over 2,000 Texans meet their untimely end each year due to a driving incident where alcohol was a factor. Figures like this cannot be ignored.
Strict laws for DUI Offenders
The impact that drunk driving and poor decisions have on a community can no longer be overlooked. It is not as though the laws are not in place; like the rest of the country, Texas has strict laws and regulations for “permissible” or inappropriate alcohol levels, and driving schools throughout Texas make sure these laws are taught. The following is a basic rundown of those laws, and how to make the best decision that will protect yourself and others.
To begin with, Texas has a zero tolerance policy in regards to underage drunk driving. As with the rest of the country, the legal drinking age in Texas is 21 years old and not a day younger. If a minor does choose to risk drinking and driving, they will be arrested regardless of their level of intoxication; any tick on the BAC scale will be legal grounds for this. This could put the minor’s future as a driver in distress and cause heavy legal and financial woes at a young age.
Driving School Requirement for Drunk Drivers in Texas
For a first offense DUI bears a $2,000 fine, up to 6 months in jail, and up to a year of license suspension. The defendant will frequently have to attend a driving school, or similar program for training on why drunk driving is bad in and of itself, as well as the victims impacted by this poor decision. The fees and risk of personal freedom only compound as the offenses pile up; with a second and third offense garnering massive fines, increased jail time, and license suspension or all out revocation.
Alcohol affects your reaction speed, judgment, and motor skills no matter the quantity imbibed. However, reaching the .08 threshold is a matter of many factors, especially size, proof of alcohol, and the amount of food in the driver’s stomach. The easiest rule of thumb is to abstain from drinking and driving completely.
Contact your neighborhood Driving School in Spring, Katy, and Atascocita, TX
One bad decision and one missed cue during a risky trip can bring about cataclysmic effects on yourself and someone else’s life. Make the right decision and avoid DUI in all of its forms through self-education, planning, and sober decision making. Click the link to learn more about Texas’ 0 tolerance laws.
How Teen Drivers See the World
Debora E. Callahan
November 13, 2012 - One of the things that all drivers receive at the DPS is an eye test; all states know that all safe drivers have good vision. The key to having good vision is to look with your eyes but see with your mind. It is particularly important for parents of teens or novice drivers to implement all reasonable ways to practice good driving habits to reduce collisions.
Having been in driver’s education for several years one of the most over looked fact is that speed reduces your field of vision. The question I get from frustrated parents all the time is why can’t my teen see the world like I do? The exact answer is their teen still needs time to learn how to see the world at higher speeds. One of the best ways to I have to explain the relationship between vision and speed is the following story I use in every class.
Before you can talk about speed and the effect it has on vision we need to understand how our eyes work. Take a Hawk, from 500 ft. in the sky it can spot a field mouse swoop down and have dinner. A rhinoceros on the other hand is nearly blind, you walk to him whack him really hard and stand still and he would not see you. Our human eyes are designed to see the world at the top speed of 2mph. When do we ever go that slowly in a car?
Let me show you what the world looks like at 60 mph without getting in a car. If you place your hands on both sides of your face and try to use your peripheral vision you now get a really clear picture of how new drivers see the world! We see like the rhinoceros!
To compensate for what we lose at higher speeds there are three simple techniques to regain what is lost. The first is aim down your path of travel by looking up for two traffic lights. The second is to look in a zig zag pattern as your travel up the road looking for speed limit signs, warning signs or cars that may turn in front of you. The last technique is to check your rearview mirror every 8-10 seconds two cars back. When you begin to do this you compensate for what we lose by lengthening your line of sight.
For more information on safe driving in Katy, The Woodlands & Spring areas contact us today!
Traditional vs. Contemporary Side Mirror Settings
Debora E. Callahan
August 23, 2012 - The odds and statistics are frightening for teen drivers. The Texas Handbook suggests that the leading cause of death for young people in the United States (ages 16 to 24) is alcohol related automobile crashes. The second leading cause for death is non-alcohol related crashes. One of a driver’s most valuable assets is his/her years of driving experience. We know that there is nothing a parent can do to give their children that experience. Experience can only be gained through time spent on the road driving, with every parent’s nightmare a teen driver.
The topic of traditional or contemporary side mirror settings is the start of the first big battle between teens and many parents when we begin to teach the fundamentals of driving. Parents immediately get confused when we teach their children the new technique of setting the mirror out farther. In my experience the best way to resolve the conflict is to first clarify how the blind zones are created.
It is important to explain that the traditional method requires the driver to set the mirrors where the whole side of the car is visible. This is what creates an area that can hide a whole vehicle or a motorcycle. To compensate for hidden vehicles many parents were trained to look quickly over their shoulder. I point out three things happen with this method: 1. Eyes are taken away from the road they are traveling putting them at risk for not seeing changes in the traffic scene 2. Because focus is removed from the path of travel you create a moment crisis because of divided attention 3. An increased tendency to drift into the lane being cleared goes up.
I always emphasize that the contemporary settings will help the driver maintain control over the vehicle in several ways. The technique for doing this is to adjust the inside mirror so that it frames out the back window. Adjusting the driver’s side mirror is simple you simply lean towards the window, and set the mirror so that you can barely see the car. The process is repeated by leaning towards the center and repeating the process for the passenger side. This new method eliminates the need to look over the shoulder. The first issue is that blind zone is eliminated by setting the mirrors out farther. Secondly the drifting tendency is resolved, because the eyes move to the mirror and finally the divided attention crisis is reduced.
For more information on our driving school classes in the Tomball, Atascocita & Jersey Village areas, contact us today!
Philosophy FOR A LIFETIME OF SAFE DRIVING
Our name says it all: Stay Safe driving.
Stay Safe Driving School and all its affiliates have one simple goal and philosophy — to produce the safest, smartest, most responsible, mature, and considerate drivers that we possibly can. Drivers who are alert, knowledgeable and courteous each time they get behind the wheel.
To this end, we emphasize defensive driving, driver safety, and responsibility, in addition to awareness to laws and regulations, Stay Safe Driving School provides 14 hours of driving time with our highly-trained instructors, and 32 hours of classroom instruction. For most of our students, learning to drive is the first major step toward independence, and for their sakes we make the driver education experience all it can be, knowing it may be used every day for the rest of their lives.
But we don’t stop there. Stay Safe Driving School is a socially-minded company, and we know that every effort we make contributes to a better driving experience for everyone on the road. This is why we have an active chapter of SADD, and have adopted a section of Texas highway. We also give gift certificates to all local area high school organizations to raise money. We also at no cost will partner with local small business owners to present programs from The National Road Safety Foundation on topics like: Drowsy Driving, Senior Driving, or Distracted Driving.
We are proud of our company and of the services we provide, and this pride is apparent in the quality of education our students receive. We take the time to discuss the materials thoroughly with students — not just the hows, but the whys — both in the car and in the classroom, and this extra effort pays off. Our 38 years of consistent quality speaks for itself. We are the only driver education school in Texas, that will work with a parent or guardian thinks their teen’s knowledge on a particular aspect of driving is lacking. We invite that student to take that class again, this time on us.
Each one of our classroom instructors is passionate about teaching the driver’s Ed curriculum clearly while being mindful of each student’s needs. We know that every one learns differently, and that in order to reach each student individually, we teach every key point through visual, auditory, and tactile methods.
In order to learn the most from our program, Stay Safe Driving School encourages our students to participate in class, and to ask questions whenever they need to. We also encourage parents to be responsive to any questions their teen may have. Please, do discuss what they’re learning in class — you can even attend class with them if you like! Tell your student about your own driving experiences, and please speak with our instructors if you have any questions.
The life-skill of driving, what does that mean?
There are many things that you may be looking for in choosing a driving school. Stay Safe Driving Schools offer many options and we are proud of our curriculum and the quality of our graduates. There is one quality though above all else that we value and place the most importance on and that is where our commitment to safety.
There are far too many components of driving to list here. That being said, all of them are available in books and other driving schools. It is our ability to weave all of those elements together in a positive, up-building, stress free environment that qualifies teenagers as safe to drive, safe to themselves, their passengers, pedestrians and all other vehicles on the road that puts us ahead of the competition. Nobody in the State of Texas can beat our combined value.
Check out our article for information on driving preferences and methods!
What makes a teen a Stay Safe driver?
The odds and statistics are frightening for teen drivers. The Texas Handbook suggests that the leading cause of death for young people in the United States (ages 16 to 24) is alcohol related automobile crashes. The second leading cause for death is non-alcohol related crashes. One of a driver’s most valuable assets is his/her years of driving experience. We know that there is nothing a parent can do to give their children that experience. Experience can only be gained through time spent on the road driving. That is why we include at no cost to you the alcohol awareness program Schedule 2 Driver as part of our curriculum.
What does it take to develop life-skills?
We at Stay Safe understand a parent’s greatest fear, not enough experience. Although teens are lacking in experience, they have do have some minor advantages and it is our job to magnify those advantages to their betterment. They are just as able to develop good driving habits as they are bad ones. We focus on instilling good driving habits while eradicating the bad ones or not allowing them to form in the first place. They are eager to learn and absorb the information quickly. They will also be exposed to the most up to date information on Texas laws, driving techniques and safety practices. Teenagers also have naturally faster reflexes. We take all of these elements and use them to their advantage.
Our mission is to teach the” life-skill of safe driving”. In order for us to keep that promise our services and teaching methods need to go beyond keeping them safe for thirty two hours; we have them with us in class. In addition to cementing the dangers of driving while intoxicated or driving while distracted, we teach them the importance of such things as driving at safe following distances, the need to maintain consistent speeds, the value of driving laws and regulations and how immaturity on the road can quickly become disastrous. If your child cannot drive across a busy bridge in extreme weather conditions without being nervous, then they didn’t graduate from Stay Safe Driving School.
How do we partner with our parents?
In addition to teaching teens, we share our driving knowledge with the parents as well. One of the most important decisions parents can make after their child earns their learner’s permit is how much driving the teen should complete before applying for their road test.
Although qualifying for the road test after a mere 20 hours, for your peace of mind we can tell you that is not nearly enough. For that reason we have a Parents Resource Center at the school and on line where you can find resources and answers for many questions. We are here for you and will gladly help to make any practice time with your student more meaningful and productive. Remember that the longer they practice safe driving habits, the more they actually become “habits”. We don’t want you stressing out every time your teen grabs the car keys and the more time you spend in the car with them the more confident you will feel when they finally graduate to their license. Driver’s Ed is never a substitute for great parenting. Studies have shown the effectiveness of driver’s education is amplified by the continuing guidance of the parents.
Past students frequently contact the school to talk about a particular instructors impact or to enroll their child because of the impression left by our courses. We look forward to hearing from you. Check out this article for more information about what we teach at Stay Safe!
Zero Tolerance Law
Parents & Students – Read Very Carefully - IT’S THE LAW!! ZERO TOLERANCE!!
TEXAS HAS TOUGH ALCOHOL-RELATED LAWS FOR MINORS
Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) is a problem that affects all Texans. To make Texas safer, laws have already been enacted to deter people from drinking and driving or to punish those who choose to drink and drive.
DRIVING WHILE INTOXICATED (DWI) – DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL OR DRUGS – PENALTIES
1ST Offense DWI (Class B Misdemeanor) – punishable by fine not to exceed $2000.00, confinement in jail for not less than 72 hours nor more than 180 days, and a driver license (or driving privilege) suspension of not less than 90 days nor more than 365 days. The court may probate the jail sentence and waive the driver’s license suspension on the first offense ONLY. Possession of an open container of an alcoholic beverage increases the minimum term of confinement by 3 days to 6 days for a 1st offense.
2nd DWI Offense (Class A Misdemeanor) – punishable by a fine not to exceed $4,000.00, confinement in jail for not less than 30 days nor more than 1 yr., and a driver license (or driving privilege) suspension of not less than 180 days nor more than 2 years.
3rd (or subsequent) DWI Offense (Felony of the Third Degree) – punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, confinement in the penitentiary for not less than 2 years nor more than 10 years, and a driver license (or driving privilege) suspension of not less than 180 days nor more than 2 years.
Intoxication Assault (Felony of the 3rd Degree) – punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, confinement in the penitentiary for not less than 2 yrs. nor more than 10 yrs., and a driver license (or driving privilege) suspension of not less than 180 days nor more than 2 years.
Intoxication Manslaughter (Felony of the 2nd Degree) – punishable by a fine not to exceed $10,000.00, confinement in the penitentiary for not less than 2 yrs. not more than 20 yrs., and a driver license (or driving privilege) suspension of not less than 180 days nor more than 2 yrs..
THE NUMBER ONE KILLER
The number 1 killer of teenagers is driving under the influence. More than 4000 teens are killed and another 110,000 seriously injured each year in car crashes involving alcohol. Not all have been drinking, but some are passengers or innocent targets of people who drink and drive. These statistics mean that from a high school of 475 this year, 2 students are likely to be killed or injured in drunk driving accidents. One could be your best friend. One could be you.
ZERO TOLERANCE FOR MINORS
In Texas a “minor” is someone under 21 yrs. of age. Generally speaking, a minor may not purchase, attempt to purchase, consume, or even possess an alcoholic beverage. Since a minor should not even possess an alcoholic beverage, the 1997 Texas Legislature adopted SB35, establishing ZERO TOLERANCE for minors who commit offenses under the non-driving alcohol related law as well as for minors who drive under the influence. Zero tolerance means just that: Even if a minor is not intoxicated as defined under the DWI statute, if the minor has ANY detectable amount of alcohol in his system while he is operating a motor vehicle in a public place, as far as the law is concerned, the minor driver has committed the criminal offense of Driving Under the Influence of Alcohol by a Minor (DUIA by a Minor).
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE OF ALCOHOL BY A MINOR (DUIA BY A MINOR)
1st Offense DUIA by a Minor (Class C misdemeanor) – punishable by a fine of up to $500.00, not less than 20 nor more than 40 hours of community service, and the minor’s driver license may be suspended (or privilege denied) for up to 12 months if under 17 yrs. of age. Attendance in an Alcohol Awareness Course is required and, if the minor is under 18, the parent may be required to attend the course.
2nd Offense DUIA by a Minor (Class C misdemeanor) – punishable by a fine of up to $500.00, nor less than 40 nor more than 60 hours of community service, and the minor’s driver license may be suspended (or privilege denied) for up to 12 months if under 17 years of age. The Alcohol Awareness Course may be required.
3rd Offense DUIA by a Minor (10 yrs. of age or older but less than 17) (“Delinquent Conduct” under the Family Code) – punishable by a fine up to $500.00, not less than 40 nor more than 60 hours of community service, and the minor’s driver license will be suspended (or privilege denied) until the minor is 19 years of age or 365 days, whichever is longer.
3rd Offense DUIA by a Minor (17 yrs. Of age or older but less than 21 (class B misdemeanor) – punishable by a fine not less than $500.00 or more than $2,000.00, not less than 40 nor more than 60 hours of community service, and/or confinement in jail not to exceed 180 days. The court may not give deferred adjudication on the 3rd DUIA by a Minor offense.
IMPLIED CONSENT LAWS AS THEY APPLY TO MINORS
In Texas, if a person is arrested for an offense arising out of acts alleged to have been committed while the person was operating a motor vehicle in public place, or a watercraft, while intoxicated, or the person is a minor and has ANY detectable amount of alcohol in their system, while operating a motor vehicle in a public place, the person is deemed to have consented to submit to the taking of one or more specimens of the person’s breath or blood for analysis to determine the alcohol concentration of the presence in the person’s body of a controlled substance, drug, dangerous drug, or other substance. REFUSAL to provide a specimen results in the suspension of the driving privilege and any driver license. The suspension for a minor who refuses is 120 days for the first refusal, 240 days for the second refusal, and one year for the third refusal. A minor who gives a specimen which confirms they have been operating a motor vehicle in a public place with Any detectable amount of alcohol in their system, ( but which is below the 0.10% BAC legal limit of intoxication) will have their drivers license suspended ( or their privilege will be denied if unlicensed) for 60 days for the first offense, for 120 days for the second offense, and for 180 days for the third and subsequent offenses. The minor may request a hearing before a Administrative Law Judge to contest that the officer had probable cause to stop and arrest the minor or that there was a detectable alcohol amount in the minor’s blood system
HOW THE LAW WORKS
A police officer with reasonable suspicion or probability cause may stop any vehicle for a traffic offense. When stopped the officer may ask the driver to perform one or more field sobriety test. If the officer believes that in the case of a minor who has been operating a motor vehicle there is ANY detectable alcohol in the minors system:
The minor is arrested and his/her car may be towed.
He may be handcuffed, taken to a police department or county jail, and given the opportunity to take a breath test. He may be taken to a hospital or clinic for a blood test. The test is designated by the officer.
If someone dies or is seriously injured in an accident, a breath or blood sample may be required.
Refusal to submit to any or all of these tests may result in the suspension of the minor’s driver license or driving privilege for a minimum of 120 days.
If the test is refused, or if the test indicated that there is ANY detectable amount of alcohol in the minor’s system, the driver may be placed in jail and held until bond is made or appearance before a magistrate of Juvenile Court Judge.
DWI/ DUI ARRESTS ARE COSTLY…
In the terms of monetary costs, penalties, and inconveniences, it can also be a humiliating experience. It is not worth the risk of being arrested. Some fines can be up to $10,000.00, not including the cost of a bail bondsman, attorney, or other court required cost.
OTHER SANCTIONS FOR NON-DRIVING ALCOHOL-RELATED OFFENSES BY MINORS.
WHEN THE 1997 Texas Legislature adopted SB35, it also established other ZERO TOLERANCE sanctions for minors who commit offenses under the non-driving alcohol related laws. Generally speaking, a minor may not purchase, attempt to purchase, falsely state that they are 21 years of age or older or present any document that indicates that they are 21 years of age or older to a person engaged in selling or serving of alcoholic beverages, consume, or possess an alcoholic beverage. ( There are some very limited exceptions for some of these). The penalty upon conviction of one of the above non- driving alcohol-related offenses and for a minor is as follows:
1st Non-Driving Alcohol Related Offense By A Minor- (Class C Misdemeanor) punishable by a fine up to $500.00, 8 to 12 hours of community service, and mandatory attendance of an alcohol awareness course. The minor’s drivers license will be suspended (or his privilege will be denied if not licensed) for 30 days.
2nd Non-Driving Alcohol Related Offense By A Minor-(Class C Misdemeanor) punishable by a fine up to $500.00, 20 to 40 Hours of community service, and may be required to attend an alcohol awareness course. The minor’s drivers license will be suspended (or his privilege will be denied if not licensed) for 60 days.
3rd Non-Driving Alcohol Related Offense By A Minor-(10 years of age or older but less than 17 years of age) (Class C Misdemeanor and “conduct indicating a need for supervision” under the family code.) – Punishable by a fine up to $500.00, 20 to 40 hours of community service, and the minors drivers license suspended (his privilege will be denied if not licensed) for 180 days. Minors are not eligible for preferred adjudication on the 3rd and subsequent convictions for the offense of Consumption by a Minor.
3rd Non-Driving Alcohol Related Offense By A Minor-(17 years of age or older but less than 21 years of age) (Class B misdemeanor)- punishable by a fine not less than $250.00 or more than $2,000.00, not less than 40 nor more than 60 hours of community, and/or confinement in jail not to exceed 180 days. The minor’s drivers license will be suspended (or will be denied if not licensed) for 180 days. Minors are not eligible for preferred adjudication on the 3rd and subsequent convictions for the offense of Consumption by a Minor.
OTHER SANCTIONS FOR NON-DRIVING ALCOHOL-RELATED OFFENSES
A person who purchases a alcoholic beverage for a minor or who furnished an alcoholic beverage to a minor can be punished by a fine up to $2,000.00 and/or confinement in jail for up to 180 days. A person who sells a minor a alcoholic beverage can be punished by a fine up to $4,000.00 and/or confinement in jail for up to one year.