AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is reminding drivers that by staying sober and following basic traffic laws, they can give their fellow motorists the gift of safe travels this season. In an effort to increase safety on Texas roadways, DPS Troopers will conduct traffic patrols throughout the holiday weekend of Dec. 31 – Jan. 1, looking for drunk drivers, speeders, seat belt violators and other dangerous drivers. Many local law enforcement agencies will also increase enforcement efforts over the holidays.
“The holidays are here, and as everyone begins to celebrate this special time of year, we are also asking Texans to be responsible and safe,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We trust the majority of Texans will heed our guidance to be extra careful and patient on the roadways, but there will always be those who disregard the safety of others by driving impaired or engaging in other reckless behavior. DPS, and police agencies across the state, will do our part to deter and take enforcement action against dangerous drivers over the holidays.”
During the six-day Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, DPS Troopers issued more than 72,000 citations and warnings for a variety of violations, including speeding, no insurance and seat belt/child safety seat usage. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 439 DWI arrests, 289 fugitive arrests and 229 felony arrests.
Remember to protect those working on the side of the road this holiday by following the law: slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
DPS offers the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:
• Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
• Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
• Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits using a portable wireless device to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
• Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
• Don’t drive fatigued – allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
• Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
• If you see a road hazard or something suspicious during the holidays, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
• Before your trip begins, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and always double check to make sure all cargo is secure.
• Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. In the event of inclement weather, use extra caution on roadways. For road conditions in Texas, visit https://drivetexas.org.