No Refusal: Austin DWI arrests include sleeping at red light and driving past barricades
This Memorial Day weekend, the Austin Police Department is encouraging people not to become a statistic.
Last year, they arrested 103 people for DWI during the holiday weekend.
Angela Tidwell with MADD says it's not just APD doing "No Refusal."
Since December, she's been working to get an area-wide "No Refusal" initiative up and running.
This weekend is the first one. She says 12 local agencies like APD, DPS and Texas Parks and Wildlife are participating.
"Smaller agencies, Rollingwood, Sunset Valley, all those agencies are working together and APD is offering some of their resources for those agencies to come and help them," Tidwell said.
"No Refusal" means if you're suspected of driving drunk and you refuse to be tested, officers will get a search warrant forcing the driver to give a breath or blood test.
Tidwell says they're hoping to help reduce the time it takes for officers to get back on the streets after making a DWI arrest.
"They were getting caught up out at the jail waiting in line to get the search warrants signed, also to get the blood drawn. So we want to make it more efficient, more streamlined for these officers. Once they do arrests they can get the process started a lot sooner before taking them to the jail," she said.
Just to give you an idea of what we're dealing with in Austin as far as drunk driving goes, we read over some of the court paperwork from Friday night's 28 DWI arrests.
According to some of that paperwork, one of those overnight arrests happened at the corner of San Jacinto and 7th. Austin Police sometimes put barricades up in the evenings there. APD says last night an alleged drunk driver just drove right past. When cops caught up with him, he had soiled clothing, he was vomiting and he was swaying back and forth.
Also overnight, at the intersection of Burnet and Braker, an APD officer pulled up behind a guy who wasn't going when the green light said to 'go.' Turns out he was slumped over his steering wheel asleep. He slept through 4 different green light cycles before the officer busted him for DWI.
Tidwell says she hopes this area-wide "No Refusal" initiative will send a message to anyone thinking of getting behind the wheel after having a few too many.
"To make them think, to hopefully get a designated driver because we just don't want anybody hurt or killed by a drunk driving crash," Tidwell said.
APD's "No Refusal" started Friday night at 7:30 and lasts until 5 am Tuesday morning.
It's not just cars. This initiative applies to driving your boat on the lake as well.