DPS encourages safe driving during holidays
The Texas Department of Public Safety’s annual Christmas and New Year’s holiday traffic enforcement campaigns are underway.
DPS is encouraging drivers to safely head out on the road during the holidays. The Texas Highway Patrol’s traffic enforcement campaigns began Thursday and stretches through Jan. 2, 2022. Highway patrol will be looking for drivers who are speeding, those who are not wearing seat belts, intoxicated drivers and other traffic violators, DPS said.
“It’s always nice to celebrate the holidays with friends and family, but please keep the well-being of other travelers at the forefront of your mind as you head out,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Troopers will be protecting the public on the roads, but we depend on other drivers to do their part, as well, so everyone can have a safe and happy holiday.”
DPS’ highway patrol will take part in the nationwide Operation CARE Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort, which runs between Dec. 23-Jan. 2. DPS will also conduct Operation Holiday, which runs simultaneously with Operation CARE between Dec. 24-26.
According to DPS, 116,810 citations and warnings issued were during the 2020 Christmas and New Year’s holiday, including 14,499 speeding citations; 1,636 seat belt and child seat violations; 2,625 citations for driving without insurance; and 820 citations and warnings for Move Over, Slow Down violations. Additionally, 1,185 felony arrests, 615 DWI arrests and 355 fugitives were arrested during last year’s enforcement campaigns.
DPS offers the following tips for making the holiday season a safe one:
•Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you are consuming alcohol.
•Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. DPS asks drivers to show the same courtesy to other drivers who are stopped on the side of the road. DPS said between Jan. 1 and Dec. 14, 2021, DPS has issued 12,060 warnings and citations for Move Over, Slow Down violations.
•Buckle up everyone in the vehicle, it’s the law.
•Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones.
•DPS suggests drivers eliminate driving distractions, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. DPS also suggests that passengers manage navigation devices or apps to help drivers keep their eyes on the road.
•Drive defensively — holiday travel can present additional challenges.
•Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach a destination.
•On multi-lane roads, use the left lane for passing only. DPS states that Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and use the left lane for passing only (when posted).
•If you can Steer It, Clear It: DPS reminds drivers that if they’re involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact. According to DPS, Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm or a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, it’s illegal.
•Keep the Texas Roadside Assistance number stored in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of roadside assistance. The number can also be found on the back of a Texas Driver License.
•Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.
•Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.