Today, the Austin Police Department (APD) hosted a virtual news conference to announce a year long No Refusal Initiative.
News Conference: https://twitter.com/Austin_Police/status/1438613442471026691
In an effort to reduce the number of crashes caused by impaired drivers, Austin will enforce its No Refusal Program four days each week starting in October, with added enforcement periods for holidays and special events.
No Refusal is an enforcement strategy that allows jurisdictions to obtain search warrants for blood samples from suspected impaired drivers who refuse breath or blood tests. It is a partnership between the Austin Transportation Department (ATD) and Austin Police Department (APD). ATD will be providing funding and strategic crash analysis to inform priority dates and locations and APD will be providing the staff resources needed to secure the search warrants.
In addition to every Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from October 2021 through September 2022, No Refusal will also be in effect for the first week of October for the Austin City Limits music festival, March 10-20 for the South by Southwest Conference and Festivals and additional holidays throughout the year. There will be more than 200 No Refusal days between October 2021 and September 2022.
“No Refusal is not about making as many arrests as we can,” APD Assistant Chief Robin Henderson said. "It’s a deterrent to keep impaired drivers off of Austin's roadways and keep the public safe. No Refusal ensures that we have solid blood alcohol content evidence in every DWI arrest and, as such, enhances the ability to prosecute drunk drivers.”
Driving while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs is a major contributor to crashes in Austin, with impaired drivers typically being involved in more than one-third of the City's fatal crashes. Last year, there were more than 1,250 DWI-related arrests during No Refusal Program initiatives.
“Vision Zero’s goal is to eliminate traffic deaths and serious injuries on Austin’s streets," said Gina Fiandaca, Assistant City Manager for Mobility. “While we are focused on making our streets safer through better design and operational decisions, we need the community to make the decision to drive safely as well. This includes planning ahead for a fun night out and ensuring everyone is able to get home safely every time.”
The City encourages residents and visitors to make the responsible choice not to drive if they are impaired in any way. There are more choices than ever for a safe ride home; make a plan before you go to keep everyone on the roadways safe. Visit https://austintexas.gov/article/know-you-go-get-home-safe for more information.