AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) wants to remind all Texans to do their part to celebrate the holiday season responsibly by obeying traffic laws, practicing safe driving habits and using extra caution when traveling on Texas roads. Throughout the Christmas (Dec. 20-29) and New Year’s holidays (Dec. 31-Jan. 1), DPS Troopers will be increasing enforcement in an effort to increase safety on Texas roads. Troopers will be on the lookout for intoxicated drivers, speeders, seat belt violators and other dangerous drivers.
“The holiday season gives us many reasons to celebrate with friends and family, and it’s up to every one of us to make sure that we do so responsibly, including driving without distractions and obeying traffic laws as we travel during the Christmas and New Year’s holidays,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS Troopers will increase their patrols, along with many other law enforcement partners across the state, throughout the remainder of the year. Troopers will be on the lookout for anyone violating the law and will remove dangerous drivers from our roadways — all in an effort to protect the public during the holidays.”
During the 2018 Christmas and New Year’s holiday enforcement periods, DPS Troopers issued nearly 100,000 citations and warnings for a variety of violations, including speeding, no insurance and seat belt/child safety seat usage. In addition, DPS enforcement efforts resulted in 353 felony arrests, 348 fugitive arrests and 351 DWI arrests.
DPS offers the following tips to help drivers have a safe journey on our roadways during the holidays:
- Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
- 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 the impact on traffic. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane not only increases traffic congestion, but it also leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm and chance for a secondary collision. On some highways, it is actually a violation of the law to not move your vehicle over when it is safe to do so.
- 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.
- 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, Texas law 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 Drive Texas.
Police agencies, including the Texas Highway Patrol, will also increase enforcement efforts over the Christmas holiday as part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort).