DPS kicks off operations to keep roads safe this holiday

Texas DPS
Special to the E-T

AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety will be increasing the number of Texas Highway Patrol Troopers on the road from Friday through Monday as part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness Reduction and Effort) and Operation Holiday.

Texas DPS logo

DPS Troopers will be on the roads looking for drivers who are speeding, driving while intoxicated or not their wearing seat belts.

“Celebrating the Fourth of July and our nation’s freedom is a joyous time, but we must take our responsibilities on the road seriously,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Please remember to drive carefully and obey all traffic laws to ensure everyone can enjoy the holiday.”

Operation Holiday will run on Saturday and Sunday, and targets drivers who violate traffic laws. During the 2020 campaign, there were 39,913 citations and warnings. This includes 15,821 warnings and citations for speeding, as well as more than 1,100 warnings and citations for seat belt and child safety restraint violations. DPS enforcement efforts also included 308 DWI citations, 453 felony arrests and 101 fugitive arrests.

Operation CARE runs from July 2 through July 5, and focuses on reducing crashes and violations of the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law. From Jan. 1 through June 18 of 2021, there were 7,036 Move Over, Slow Down violations. The law requires drivers to slow down when vehicles — including police, fire, EMS, TxDOT vehicles and tow trucks — are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.

DPS offers the following safety tips for people driving during the Fourth of July 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 fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road.

• 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. 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.

• On multi-lane roads, 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, you’re violating 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 wherever you’re traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit drivetexas.org