AMARILLO – With Thanksgiving right around the corner, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is encouraging drivers to make safety a top priority this holiday, as increased travel can present additional challenges for drivers.
As part of the nationwide Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) initiative, DPS Troopers will be increasing patrols beginning Wednesday, Nov. 25, through Sunday, Nov. 29. DPS Troopers will be looking for drivers who violate the law, including those who are speeding, driving while intoxicated, failing to wear a seat belt, driving without insurance and not complying with the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law, among other traffic violations.
“As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to remind every Texan of their duty to drive defensively and help keep our roadways safe,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “The holidays may look different this year, but it is still up to each of us to obey traffic laws and make safety our top priority behind the wheel.”
During DPS’ 2019 enforcement effort, a total of 59,146 warnings and citations were issued, including 6,460 for speeding; 716 for seat belt and child seat violations; 1,247 for driving without insurance; and 406 for violations of Move Over, Slow Down. Last year’s enforcement efforts also resulted in 304 DWI arrests, 231 felony arrests and 183 fugitive arrests.
In addition to Operation CARE, DPS Troopers are also participating in the annual Click It or Ticket initiative, which runs through Nov. 29, with an emphasis on enforcing seat belt use for both drivers and passengers.
DPS offers the following safety tips for the Thanksgiving holiday:
• Don’t 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. This year alone, between Jan. 1 and Nov. 9, DPS issued 11,349 warnings and citations for violations of this law.
• 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 the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. Also, 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.
• Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
• 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 use the left lane for passing only (when 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 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 is 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 are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.
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