Adding paramedics to list of authorized personnel, allows state to issue more warrants for blood draws
September 3, 2013
Beginning Sunday, the Lone Star state introduced a new law authorizing more than 6,000 Texas paramedics to conduct DWI blood draws.
The law, passed by the Texas Legislature this spring, allows EMTs to draw blood at the scene of an accident or arrest upon request from the police, reported KHOU.
The new law conveniently emerged over Labor Day weekend, a holiday that brings the state thousands of dollars in revenue through DWI fees and arrests.
Bexar County district attorney, Susan Reed said, “In the last legislative session, the legislation addressed an issue of whether EMTs could take blood in relation to intoxication behind the wheel, be it an accident issue or an arrest.”
“We could develop a system of mobile units, using EMTs to do that. But remember, it is still the circumstance of having the sanitary place,” explained Reed.
Reed also admitted the new law “…actually gives us more options and more ability to do warrants and do blood draws in relation to DWI.”
Prior to the law change, officers would ask medical personnel to conduct blood draws, which normally took place inside the jail or local hospital.
This year the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) extended their practice of increased DWI patrols through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). The enhanced patrols went into effect from Aug. 19 and continue through Sept. 9, widening the window for more arrests.
According to a DPS statement, “…troopers will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent.”
In a report by the American Statesman, DPS troopers made close to 2,000 arrests last year during Labor Day weekend, an estimated 500 were reportedly related to increased patrols.
DPS shockingly issued nearly 25,000 speeding tickets, 4,000 seat belt/child safety citations and about 4,000 no insurance tickets during the holiday.