DPS to increase enforcement during holidays
As Texans take to the roads this holiday season, the Texas Department of Transportation will conduct its annual Christmas and New Year’s traffic enforcement campaign.
DPS will start its annual holiday enforcement on Dec. 23, where it will look for people who are speeding, not wearing their seat belts, driving while intoxicated or committing other traffic violations.
“We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Whether you’re staying local to end the year or traveling, we encourage everyone to make safety their number one priority by following a few tips that will help make our roads and celebrations safer for everyone.”
The Texas Highway Patrol’s annual enforcement efforts are a part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), which stretches from Dec. 23 through Jan. 2
DPS said its 2021 Christmas and New Year’s enforcement tallied more than 91,000 citations and warnings issued, including 30,921 speeding warnings/citations; 2,780 seat belt and child seat violations, 1,881 citations for driving without insurance; and 456 citations and warnings for Move Over, Slow Down violations.
DPS provides the following safety tips for the Christmas and New Year’s holidays:
- Don’t drink and drive. Plan ahead.
- Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. DPS asks drivers to show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped on the side of the road.
- Buckle up.
- Slow down, especially while driving during bad weather, heavy traffic and through unfamiliar areas or construction zones.
- Eliminate distractions while driving, 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.
- Have a passenger operate a navigation device or app.
- Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of assistance. The Texas Roadside Assistance number can also be found on the back of a Texas Drivers License.
- Drive defensively.
- Allow plenty of time to reach a destination and don’t drive fatigued. Use the left lane for passing only on multi-lane roads. When posted Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to use the left lane for passing only.
- Don’t cut in front of large trucks, and try not to brake quickly in front of them. They can’t maneuver as easily as passenger vehicles and pickup trucks.
- If you can Steer It, Clear It: If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact. 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 against the law.
- Check your vehicle to make sure it’s properly maintained and ensure cargo is secure.
- 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 at https://drivetexas.org.
DPS also reminds everyone to be watchful of their surroundings and report any suspicious activity through iWatchTexas (https://iwatchtx.org).
DPS is asking travelers to be on the lookout for possible human trafficking this holiday season. The potential to spot human trafficking activities exists with the increase in people on the road and in airports.
Texans are asked to be observant of others around you and take note for the following indicators of human trafficking, according to DPS:
- The person appears to be under control of another person either physically (someone else controls the person’s possessions i.e., ID, money, phone) or psychologically (little to no eye contact, unable to speak for themselves or unable to make simple decisions without approval).
- The person has little to no awareness of their surroundings including where they are or where they are headed.
- The person has untreated illness or infection, visible injuries, appears malnourished or sleep deprived.
- The person’s clothing is inappropriate for the weather or environment. The person is dressed in a manner that does not appear age appropriate or makes them appear older.
- The person is being transported to and from work by their employer.
- The person lives where they work or works excessively long or unusual hours.
- The person’s workplace has security measures that are unusual or excessive for the type of business (i.e., boarded or opaque windows, excessive security cameras).
DPS said the presence of an indicator doesn’t confirm an occurrence of human trafficking. The combination and context of indicators, however, may indicate human trafficking pending law enforcement investigation and you are encouraged to report it.
Anyone who sees signs of human trafficking while traveling for the holidays is asked to call 911 immediately to report it and be ready to give as many details as possible; report on iWatchTexas; or call the National Human Trafficking Hotline at 1-888-373-7888 or text “BeFree” to 233733.