The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) encourages everyone to drive safely as they celebrate the unofficial end of summer over the Labor Day weekend. In an effort to reduce crashes, the Texas Highway Patrol will be increasing enforcement from Sept. 2 through Sept. 5, 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.
“Safety must always come first,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “That is especially true when more people are out on the roads, like Labor Day weekend. Please remember to do your part by paying attention, buckling up and obeying all traffic laws.”
During the 2021 Labor Day holiday, Troopers issued 52,227 citations and warnings. This included 4,397 citations for speeding; 882 seat belt and child safety restraint citations; 929 citations for no insurance; and 245 warnings and citations for Move Over, Slow Down violations. DPS also had 222 DWI arrests, 229 felony arrests and 116 fugitive arrests.
Drivers are asked to keep the below tips in mind 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 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.
- Know your route before beginning your trip.
- Don’t drive fatigued. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- 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 License.
- 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 of 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.
- 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 easily 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.
DPS would also like to remind Texans about the iWatchTexas program. This is a critical resource for reporting suspicious activity within the community in order to help prevent dangerous attacks. Everyone is urged to download the free iOS or Android mobile app. Tips can be reported via the website, the mobile app or by calling 844-643-2251. All reports are confidential.
For information on how to use iWatchTexas, you can view this how-to video. Remember, iWatchTexas is not for emergencies. If there is an emergency, call 911 immediately.