WESLACO, Texas (ValleyCentral) — The Texas Department of Public Safety is increasing enforcement for the Thanksgiving holiday to make sure your loved ones make it to and from the dinner table safely.
Starting Wednesday and following through Sunday troopers will be looking for people not wearing seat belts, driving while intoxicated, speeding and failing to follow the Move Over, Slow Down law, among other traffic violations, a release from DPS stated.
“As we head into a busy holiday season, we must remember to make safety the number one priority,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Obey all traffic laws, don’t drink and drive, put your phones down behind the wheel, and look out for each other. The message is the same every year, but it’s a message that can save lives.”
Every year, DPS participates in a nationwide initiative known as, Operation Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort for the Thanksgiving holiday.
During the 2021 Thanksgiving holiday, enforcement efforts totaled 36,523 warnings and citations, including 3,306 for speeding; 789 for driving without insurance; 377 for seat belt and child seat violations; and 170 violations for Move Over, Slow Down. Last year’s enforcement efforts also resulted in 225 felony arrests, 138 DWI arrests and 84 fugitive arrests.
To help lower the amount of warnings and citations issued out during the festive day, DPS recommends drivers to listen to the following:
- Do not 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. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it is 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 the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
- Keep the Texas Roadside Assistance number stored in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of assistance. The number can also be found on the back of a Texas Driver’s License.
- Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges.
- Do not drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Do not 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 always ensure your cargo is secure.
- Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.
- Monitor weather and road conditions