New proposals Galveston County is considering to crack down on drunk driving

Galveston City Council and law enforcement officials met Thursday to discuss cracking down on DWI incidents after at least six people have been killed on the island by an alleged drunk driver in August.

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Galveston Police Chief Doug Balli recommended increasing the department’s presence on the streets. 

"We would like to increase our traffic safety unit, and we feel we’re going to be able to do that to numbers we’ve just never had before," Balli said. "When we're able to do that 24 hours a day and have somewhere in the neighborhood of 14-16 officers solely looking for traffic-related activities, I think we’re going to see a big drop and Galveston will become the place as ‘Don’t go down there and do that.'"

Meanwhile, representatives from the TABC, the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, suggested bars add more surveillance cameras outside and inside, referencing the city of Houston’s ordinance as a model of success.

"The city of Houston just recently put in an ordinance and theirs was more to mitigate violence as opposed to alcohol and intoxication," TABC representatives said. 

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James Amaro represents the families of the four people killed by a drunk driver while riding a golf cart rental in August. 

"If the bartenders know that the cameras are being watched by TABC; if there was something to happen, it would have you know, major deterrent effect from the bartenders over serving people," Amaro said. 

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In a recent lawsuit, the victims' families are suing at least three bars for overserving the driver in the hours leading up to the crash.

Amaro said his clients are hopeful for any changes that could prevent other families from feeling their pain. 

"If anybody has ever lost family from something like this, they would gladly pay to have the cameras in there instead of losing their loved ones," Amaro said. 

So far, Galveston officials have not made it clear when a vote could happen on these proposals.