Central Texas Police Chief Pushes for New Laws on "Buzzed Driving"

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Texas drunk driving laws are under the microscope because of a legislative push coming from a Central Texas police chief.

"There's actually a gaping hole in our system," said Austin Police Chief Art Acevedo.

Acevedo wants to change DWI laws in Texas. He says the goal is to cut down on repeat offenders who plead to non-DWI offenses.

"Basically what they're trying to do is introduce a law that if somebody has a blood alcohol content of less than 0.08 they can be charged with an offense other than DWI," he said.

That offense would be called "Driving While Ability Impaired" or a DWAI, and would be given to drivers with blood alcohol levels between 0.05 and 0.07.

For example a woman who weighs 140 pounds and has two drinks in one hour would fit into that category.

Sergeant Melvin Roseboro with the Waco Police Department wants change too, but he doesn't know if this is the answer.

"My feeling is instead of adding another law to the books let's correct the way that these are currently being prosecuted," Roseboro said.

Waco defense attorney Walter Reaves thinks there are already too many regulations when it comes to drunk driving.

"I mean a lot of DWI cases end up either getting thrown out or people found not guilty cause ultimately opinion crime," Reaves said.

Penalties associated with the proposed DWAI law have not been introduced, but supporters hope even just the proposal itself will make more people watch just how much they drink.

The next legislative session is January 11th. If Texas passes the proposed bill, the state will join New York and Colorado that already have "DWAI" laws.