A word of caution before you head out for the long Memorial Day weekend: It's also No-Refusal Weekend. Which means? Well, if Dallas police pull suspect you're drinking and driving, you'll be stuck with a butterfly needle attached to a vacuum-packed container, and two vials' worth of your blood will taken and tested. And, no, you can't refuse the test; hence the name, as discussed in our cover story on the very subject last month.
The program, which the DPD's been testing since last Memorial Day weekend, has proven to be most everything Mothers Against Drunk Driving, the Dallas Police Department and the Dallas County District Attorney's Office hoped it would be. According to the police, 335 people have had their blood drawn during the handful of no-refusal weekends, and of the tests taken, all but five came back with results well over the legal blood alcohol level of .08 -- and in most cases, they were closer to double the legal limit.
"Our hope is that the no-refusal initiative will have a chilling effect on drunk drivers," said Kunkle today.
That's not all that Chief Kunkle and MADD director Mary Kardell were cheering about this morning at a press event: They also noted that not a single one of these blood test cases had gone before a jury. According to Kunkle, all 51 cases that have thus far entered the legal system pleaded guilty before ever heading to trial.
This weekend's blood drive will begin on Friday at 9 p.m. and last until Sunday morning. And ... why not through Monday? According to this morning's press conference participants, statistics have shown that most drinkers aren't driving on Monday holidays but are, rather, winding down the weekend in anticipation of returning to work.
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They also said the program will go full-time on September 1. Should pending legislation pass through the state Legislature, as expected, Dallas County will become a full-time needle-poking place.