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Oppose Online DWI Programs in Texas (HB833)

This petition had 121 supporters

Sign this petition so we can show Texas legislators that the classroom is the most effective place to change offender behavior and improve public safety, and they should not support online programs which will make Texas roads less safe to be on.

Texas House Bill 833 would authorize DWI education programs to be taken online instead of just in the classroom as currently allowed. This is a bad idea that harms students and public safety. Some of the reasons to be opposed to this are:

  • DWI offenses are more serious than traffic tickets, so it’s not the same as letting someone take Defensive Driving online.
  • Classroom courses incorporate evaluations into the program and allow conversations to identify more serious substance abuse and addiction issues that will require additional referral and support. This can't be accomplished in an online course.
  • Certified classroom instructors have invested a lot of time and money to make their programs effective and to stay educated on current substance abuse issues. Online programs have no human interaction that allows follow up conversation with the student or other students to learn from each other, and the investment made by classroom programs should not be disregarded.
  • Classroom courses incorporate a family component into the course so that family members are educated about substance abuse and enabling behaviors and teach them how they can help their family member.
  • The focus should be on which method of instruction makes our Texas roads safer, not on what makes it most convenient for the offender. And, that’s why groups like MADD oppose this bill. It is hard to tell a MADD mother who lost their child in a DWI that you want things to be easy for the person who caused great injury to or took their family member's life.
  • A quick Google search reveals that many online DWI classes can currently be found that say they are "Texas certified." This is just plain fraudulent and misleading, since current Texas law does not provide for online DWI classes. This also tells me that these online DWI course providers don't care about following the law or the rules - but we are going to reward them for breaking the law? We should be prosecuting them!
  • As the TDLR takes on supervision of DWI education programs from the TDSHS, rules could be evaluated for possible program modification that would allow the course to be taught over fewer days, so offenders who must travel a little further would not have to do so as often.
  • Rural offenders really don't have to travel further than those who take classes in Houston, Dallas, Austin, San Antonio, etc. If you live in a large city, you are going to spend at least 45 minutes traveling to your class. For example, in the Panhandle of Texas, there are DWI classes offered in Dumas, Amarillo, Hereford, and Dimmitt. Most Panhandle offenders live within 50-60 miles of these towns, so they aren't traveling any further than the big-city students.
  • There is no guarantee the person taking the class would even be the offender. They could have someone else take it for them. So, no accountability, and they could even drink while taking the class. Below are video links of people doing just that with similar online programs as well as cheating on the test. This is what we can expect if online DWI education programs are permitted:

    Drunken TABC Test:

    Test Answers Shared Online:

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