AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) wants to remind all drivers to practice safe driving habits and exercise extra caution while traveling on Texas roadways during the busy Thanksgiving holiday. Texas Highway Patrol Troopers will increase enforcement starting Wednesday, Nov. 27, through Sunday, Dec. 1. DPS Troopers will be on the lookout for drivers failing to wear seat belts, violating the Move Over, Slow Down law, speeding and driving while intoxicated, among other traffic violations.
“As we gather with family and friends to celebrate Thanksgiving, you will play a key role in keeping everyone safe as you travel on our roadways this holiday,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “We urge drivers to celebrate the holiday responsibly by obeying traffic laws and monitoring weather conditions when traveling. DPS Troopers will also work to protect Texans by increasing traffic enforcement over Thanksgiving.”
During the 2018 Thanksgiving holiday, DPS Troopers issued more than 74,000 traffic citations and warnings, including 956 seat belt and child safety restraint citations. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 337 DWI arrests, 244 fugitive arrests and 213 felony arrests.
DPS offers the following tips to help Texans arrive at their destinations safely for the Thanksgiving holiday:
- 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. As of Oct. 31, DPS Troopers have issued 23,611 citations and warnings for violations to the Move Over, Slow Down law in Texas in 2019.
- 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 — across the country will also increase enforcement efforts over the Thanksgiving holiday as part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort).