AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety encourages everyone to drive safely while celebrating the unofficial end of summer during the long Labor Day weekend. The Texas Highway Patrol will be increasing enforcement from Sept. 3 through Sept. 6, looking for people not wearing their seat belts, speeders, people driving while intoxicated, and drivers who fail to follow the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law, among other traffic violations.
“DPS is reminding all drivers that safety always comes first,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “While long weekends are a time to get out and enjoy, we all need to do our part to keep roads safe, and that is why Troopers will be out ensuring everyone is following the traffic laws.”
During the 2020 Labor Day holiday, Troopers issued 71,544 citations and warnings. It included 9,239 citations for speeding; 1,088 seat belt and child safety restraint citations; 1,419 citations for no insurance; and 534 warnings and citations for Move Over, Slow Down violations. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 402 DWI arrests, 802 felony arrests, and 200 fugitive arrests.
Drivers are encouraged to follow these tips during the Labor Day holiday:
- Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you’re consuming alcohol.
- Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, TxDOT vehicles, and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to stopped fellow drivers on the side of the road. So far, in 2021, there have been 8,950 violations.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.
- Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas, or construction zones.
- Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless in a stopped vehicle. If you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it so you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges.
- Know your route before beginning your trip.
- Don’t drive tired. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- On multi-lane roads, use the left lane for passing only. It is courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic. Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and only use the left lane for passing if posted.
- 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 cars in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm of a secondary wreck. If you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so on some highways, you’re violating the law.
- Don’t cut in front of large trucks, and try not to brake quickly in front of them, if possible. They can’t maneuver as quickly as passenger vehicles and pickup trucks.
- Check your vehicle to make sure it’s properly maintained and always ensure your cargo is secure.
- Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.
- Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you’re traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.
Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) will run simultaneously. Operation CARE is an initiative among police agencies across the country, including the Texas Highway Patrol. It increases enforcement efforts during designated periods throughout the year, including holidays like Labor Day.