AUSTIN (KXAN) — During an 8-day Christmas and New Year holiday period last year, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers made 466 driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests. Their message: avoid being a statistic by driving sober and using extra caution during the holidays.
Troopers will be conducting traffic patrols through the 8-day period looking for drunk drivers, speeders, seat belt violators and other dangerous drivers.
Last year, 9,174 speeding citations, 893 seat belt/child safety seat citations, 320 fugitive arrests and 286 felony arrests were made during DPS enforcement efforts over the holiday period.
“Impaired driving or reckless behavior on the road can turn holiday celebrations into tragedies, and these DPS patrols are designed to help save lives by identifying drivers who disregard the law and endanger others,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “By always driving sober, obeying traffic laws, and slowing down or moving over a lane when vehicles are stopped on the side of the road, Texans can help make our roads safer for everyone.”
Officers with the Austin Police Department have a no refusal initiative in place during the holidays this year. During a no refusal period, officers can apply for a search warrant to draw blood from drivers who are suspected of being impaired, even if they refuse to provide a breath or blood sample.
DPS offers the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:
- Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab.
- Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.
- Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
- Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS and Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
- Don’t drive fatigued.
- Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and check the weather forecast before your trip begins.