DPS out in force over Memorial Day weekend

State troopers are again stepping up enforcement efforts over Memorial Day weekend and will be out in force to search for drunken drivers and speeding motorists during what’s traditionally a busy travel time.

Lt. Johnny Hernandez, spokesman for the Texas Department of Public Safety headquarters in Weslaco, said in an agency news release Thursday that these efforts will run through Monday, Memorial Day, and that troopers will also be on the lookout for those violating seat belt and other traffic laws in addition to drunken drivers and anyone who violates the speed limit.

According to the release, troopers throughout the state issued nearly 65,000 citations and warnings during the same time in 2018, as well as 1,203 seat belt and child safety restraint tickets, 391 arrests for driving while intoxicated, and 225 and 229 fugitive and felony arrests, respectively.

According to Hidalgo County jail records, 11 people have been arrested locally by multiple agencies, including DPS and the Hidalgo County Sheriff’s Office, for DWI between Thursday and Friday alone.

“Memorial Day pays tribute to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice in serving and protecting our country, and we know many of you will spend the long holiday weekend with family and friends to honor these heroic men and women,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in the release. “As you make plans for this weekend, we’re asking all Texans to make safety a top priority. If you’re on the road, be sure to drive sober, wear your seatbelt and obey all traffic laws to help prevent senseless tragedies from occurring.

“DPS will do our part to keep Texans safe by ramping up patrols on our roadways this Memorial Day weekend.”

Similar efforts —encouraging people to comply with state seat belt laws, specifically — remain the focus of the 17th annual “Click It or Ticket” enforcement campaign that runs through June 2.