AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is encouraging drivers to pack safety on their holiday road trips by staying sober and following traffic laws throughout the Christmas and New Year’s holidays. In an effort to increase safety on Texas roadways, DPS Troopers will conduct traffic patrols throughout the holiday weekends — Dec. 23-26 and 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 a wonderful time of year, and it’s up to each and every Texan to be responsible behind the wheel so that everyone makes it home safely to their family during the holidays,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Along with other law enforcement partners across the state, DPS will be out in force to identify and remove dangerous drivers from Texas roadways this holiday season.”
During the Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, DPS Troopers issued more than 86,000 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 400 DWI arrests, 359 fugitive arrests, and 277 felony arrests.
DPS wants to remind all Texans it is everyone’s responsibility to help protect those working on the side of the road this holiday season by following the law: 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. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
Winter weather threats may also be a factor during holiday travel. Texans can prepare their vehicles for winter by checking the battery, windshield wipers (including appropriate freeze resistant-fluid), tire pressure, tire tread, and fluid levels, as well as taking time to lubricate door and trunk locks to prevent freezing. Additional tips to prepare for winter weather can be found on the DPS website.
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.
- Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
- Don’t drive fatigued – allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- If you see a road hazard or if you observe anything suspicious, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
- On multi-lane roadways, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic, but Texas law also requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to only use the left lane for passing (when posted).
- 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. For road conditions/closings in Texas, visit https://drivetexas.org.