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AUSTIN â€“ The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will increase DWI patrols for a 21-day period that includes both the Christmas and New Year holidays. It began Dec. 13, and until Jan. 2, DPS troopers will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent.
â€śHistorically, the holiday season brings an increased potential for drinking and driving incidents and these enhanced DPS patrols will help save lives,â€ť said DPS Director Steven McCraw. â€śImpaired driving can easily turn a holiday celebration into a tragic situation. By designating a sober driver or finding alternative transportation if drinking alcohol is expected, Texans can do their part in keeping our roadways safe and making the holidays memorable for the right reasons.â€ť
The increased patrols that target impaired driving are funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). During the Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, DPS troopers made more than 1,200 DWI arrests, and approximately 303 were the direct result of the increased patrols. DPS enforcement also resulted in more than 17,600 speeding citations and more than 2,000 seat belt/child safety seat citations. DPS patrols also resulted in 258 fugitive arrests and 211 felony arrests during the same time period.
DPS offers the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:
â€˘ Donâ€™t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab.
â€˘ Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.
â€˘ Buckle up everyone in the vehicle â€“ itâ€™s the law.
â€˘ Slow down â€“ especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.
â€˘ 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 â€“ itâ€™s the law.
â€˘ Donâ€™t drive fatigued.
â€˘ Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
â€˘ Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.