The High Five
10:23 am
Mon January 7, 2013

Is Dallas One Of The Worst Cities For Drunk Driving?

Five stories that have North Texas talking: High rate of intoxication fatalities on Dallas roads, Ted Cruz's first senatorial soapbox, Denton's smoking ban gets real for restaurant owners and more.

We know that mass transit use and walkability in a city doesn’t eradicate drunk driving altogether.

But according to an analysis on the Atlantic Cities blog today, Dallas needs all the help it can get. Big D ranks at number five of the top 25 metro cities “whose roads are generally safe, but with high rates of drunk driving.”

The numbers are from a crunch by IDV Solutions, and there's a lot to wade through. For instance:  A lot of people live in Dallas, and a lot of people drive there, the post concedes, but the percentage of fatal crashes that involved intoxication – 41.4 percent, is alarming.

Could design, culture and subtler aspects of geography make a city more prone to producing intoxicated drivers? The data doesn’t provide clear answers to the questions asked here, but these inquiries are worth notice since Dallas commuters aren’t just tired after all.

  • Ted Cruz played his first Tea Party riff as Texas’ new U.S. senator on Fox News Sunday, anticipating President Obama's expected nomination of former Nebraska Sen. Chuck Hagel for defense secretary. Unsurprisingly, Cruz joined fellow Texan John Cornyn in opposing Cornyn’s former Republican colleague for his pro-talks stance on Iran. "He has consistently advocated weakness when it comes to our enemies," Cruz said.

  • Psst, Denton. The smoking ordinance that will ban smoking in restaurants (but leaves bars open for puffing) goes into effect April 17. That means restaurant owners like Mike Zampino of El Guapo’s, who says he expected a total ban, have until then to figure out how to compete with local bars that serve food – and cancel those ashtray orders. [Denton Record-Chronicle]
  • The acclaimed writer who sent SMU alum Lauren Graham fast-talking her way to fame as the townie trailblazing, junk-food addicted young mom on Gilmore Girls reveals the secret to her dialogue on Morning Edition today. Amy Sherman-Palladino plays Woody Allen films like Hannah and Her Sisters while she’s writing, affected by the cadence of discussion like “it’s music.” Sherman-Palladino’s latest show Bunheads is back for a second season and premieres tonight on ABC Family. [NPR]
  • KERA's Shelley Kofler is in Austin all week, sleuthing her way through the legislative session. Before the news starts flowing, learn how the Rainy Day Fund works and how lawmakers are planning to get a piece of the Lone Star surplus. 
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