MADD pushes to tighten DWI laws

By Jena Johnson - bio | email

LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - Anggie Medellin's 14-year-old son was killed by a drunk driver last year. She's turned to Mothers Against Drunk Driving to help heal her pain and focus her energy. She is determined to help pass two bills she believes in.

"If somebody hasn't been through it, then they don't know see the point of it and those that drink and drive aren't going to wait it obviously. But why wait?," said Anggie Medellin, a new member of MADD.

The bills were first introduced in the Texas legislature in early February. They are a hot item in the State Capital.

"There's a bill (bill 170) that would propose an interlock device be placed in an offender's car for the rest of their life. Now if that actually gets passed it would be a financial burden," said Judge Robert K. Inselmann Jr., Angelina County Judge.

Convicted drunk drivers would have to pay $600 a year for the system. The second bill is equally controversial.

If House Bill 169 passes, Texas highways like this one will all have sobriety checkpoints.

"Some people believe that driving on Texas highways is a privilege, it is not a right. On the other hand you have the constitutional question on whether DWI sobriety points are constitutional," said Inselmann.

Opponents argue the two bills are too harsh, but Medellin thinks it is only a start.

"You go out and drink, you get a buzz. You have a good time. The following day you have a hangover and it's over. The pain that I feel from his fun has gone on for a year and it will go on for the rest of my life. My hangover is not over."

Currently 11 states use sobriety check points. It could take months before we see any bills pass in Texas. Go to the Big Red Box to see a compete schedule of MADD meetings in East Texas.