Sheriff Ed Gonzalez tweeted about a serious issue with underage drinking in Harris County after the latest DWI arrest numbers were released December 4. Investigators from the DA’s office said so far in 2019, 402 underage people were arrested for driving drunk of the 14,588 DWIs to date. Total DWIs in 2019 already surpass 2018’s number at 14,133.
The average age of underage drinkers was 19, and their blood alcohol content was nearly double the legal limit at 0.137.
Chuck Cornelius, Investigator of Vehicular Crimes Division, Harris County District Attorney’s Office, recently started tracking the “under 21” group of DWIs once he saw several of them appearing on the filed case list each morning.
Why are underage DWIs so prevalent in Harris County? Cornelius believes it relates to the large availability of retail locations, as well as adults providing alcohol to minors.
“There is not enough education geared towards this issue,” Cornelius relates. “Moving forward, a task force would be needed to address the education and enforcement at the source level for all DWIs.”
As Sheriff Gonzalez stated in a recent news segment, “All of this is preventable. Impaired driving is not an accident, it’s a choice. And we see it way too often.”