Posted on Aug 31, 2013

The state is trying to alert Texans to how costly drunk-driving can be through the use of an unusual simulation experience.

The Texas Department of Transportation earlier this month went to the University of Texas of the Permian Basin to give people a firsthand look at what can expect if caught driving while intoxicated. Participants in the simulation had their mug shots taken, then were treated to a jail-like accommodations, which included a toilet, sink and bunk bed, according to a report from a Midland television station.

But perhaps the most attention-grabbing part of the experience was TxDOT giving participants an oversized receipt depicting the cost of a first-time DWI: $17,000.

In addition, participants wrote pledges not to drive drunk on a giant story wall. It will travel to cities across the state, according to the television report.

I don't know if the $17,000 figure is accurate for a DWI in Waco or McLennan County, but it's not too far off. Along with any fine that is imposed - which is usuall between $500-1,000 - there is also the surchage  that must be paid each year for three years, which will total $3,000. There's also the court costs which are around $300. You also need to add in probation fees, which if you are probation for 12 months will be $600. So now you're up to $5,000. You then have to add lawyer's fees, plus any costs associated with insurance, and the DWI class you will have to take to keep your license. So even if it's not $17,000, it certainly isn't cheap.