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Preparations For 1st Statewide 4th Of July "No Refusal" Weekend

TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) - The Fourth of July weekend is reportedly one of the deadliest holiday weekends on Texas roads. This year  law enforcement agencies have united to enforce a statewide "no refusal" weekend.

The Texas "no refusal" campaign is the first statewide program in the nation for the July 4th weekend.

As a part of the No Refusal Weekend, anyone suspected of driving or boating while intoxicated, and who refuses to submit to a breathalyzer test, will have a search warrant issued against them for police to take a blood specimen.

Carol Rawson, the Traffic Operations Director with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), said in a press release, "The Fourth of July is about celebrating freedom and if people choose to drink and drive, they stand to lose that freedom and end up in jail."

According to a study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, over the past 25 years nearly half of the automobile crashes that occur over the 4th of July Weekend involve alcohol. In 2010 alone, law enforcement officials in Texas responded to more than 330 crashes over the three-day weekend.

In Texas, as well as the rest of the country, anyone driving with a blood alcohol level of .08 or higher is considered legally impaired.

The No Refusal Weekend period begins at 6 p.m. on Friday, July 1, and ends at 6 a.m. on Tuesday, July 5.

Bill Rayborn, with the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS), says, "This is by far the biggest, widest spread effort in the state of Texas to date." Rayborn says the initiative is unique because the Texas push for No Refusal enforcement was a grassroots movement. "It's a collaborative effort of like minded people committed to combating the DWI problem."

DPS and other law enforcement agencies across the state have received federal grant money to help pay for the cost of increased law enforcement efforts over the holiday weekend.

Officials say the ultimate goal of the program is to protect the public from intoxicated drivers on roadways and waterways.

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