DPS upping traffic enforcement during Fourth of July weekend

In an effort to promote safe driving during the Fourth of July weekend, the Texas Department of Public Safety will implement two traffic operations concurrently: Operation CARE, or Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort, and Operation Holiday.

Operation CARE focuses on enforcing “Move Over, Slow Down,” a state law that requires drivers to pull aside and decelerate in the presence of emergency vehicles — police, fire and EMS vehicles and tow trucks.

Last year, more than 57,000 citations and warnings were issued nationwide during Operation Holiday, 1,023 of which were seat belt and child safety restraint citations.

Starting Wednesday, there will be an increase of traffic enforcement scouting for driving violations, such as reckless driving, speeding and failure to wear a seatbelt. The operation will end on Friday, the day after Independence Day.

“ As we celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s important to remember to do so safely and responsibly,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a news release.

DPS urges those deciding to celebrate the holiday with alcohol to make transportation arrangements prior to drinking. If involved in an accident, and if possible, motorists are asked to move vehicles away from driving lanes to minimize traffic congestion.

Additionally, as part of the Texas Department of Transportation’s statewide campaign “Be Safe. Drive Smart,” drivers are encouraged to revisit basic safety rules, such as keeping a safe distance behind vehicles, and to drive a safe speed in turbulent weather conditions. Also, to those traveling long distances for the holiday, TxDOT recommended to take breaks every two hours or every 100 miles. Drivers are welcomed to rest for 15 to 20 minutes at Safety Rest Areas and Travel Information Centers.

Drivers are also advised to eliminate any distractions that could compromise focus on the road, especially the use of mobile devices behind the wheel. Texas law prohibits drivers to use portable wireless devices to read, write or send electronic messages while the vehicle is in motion.

Furthermore, DPS iterated that on multi-lane roadways, the leftmost lane is reserved for passing. Texas law requires slower traffic to stay on the right.

For updated information on weather and road conditions, drivetexas.org provides up-to-date monitoring.

“ By celebrating responsibly, you can help ensure we all make it home safely,” McCraw said.