DPS to increase patrols through nationwide initiative for Thanksgiving

Texas Department of Public Safety Regional headquarters on Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, in Weslaco. (Joel Martinez | jmartinez@themonitor.com)

As part of a nationwide operation, Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will increase patrols during Thanksgiving weekend, the agency announced in a news release Sunday. 

“As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to remind every Texan of their duty to

drive defensively and help keep our roadways safe,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in the release. “The holidays may look different this year, but it is still up to each of us to obey traffic laws and make safety our top priority behind the wheel.”

The Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effect) initiative will increase patrols Wednesday through Sunday. Through this initiative, the agency said troopers will be on the lookout for drivers violating the law, such as but not limited to: speeding, driving while intoxicated, failure to wear a seatbelt, driving without insurance and failure to comply with the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law. 

In addition to Operation CARE, troopers will also participate in the annual Click It or Ticket initiative, also running through Nov. 29. The Click It or Ticket initiative is an emphasis on enforcing seat belt use for drivers and passengers. 

The news comes a few days before Thanksgiving, a holiday they noted may present additional challenges for drivers due to volume of increased travel. 

Last year, DPS issued nearly 60,000 warnings and citations. Of those warnings, 6,460 were for speeding, 716 were for seat belt and child seat violations, 1,247 for driving without insurance and 406 for violating the Move Over, Slow Down law. 

Additionally, the agency stated there were 304 DWI arrests, 231 felony arrests and 183 fugitive arrests during last year’s enforcement effort. 

DPS also offered the following safety tips for Thanksgiving: 

>> Don’t drive and drive, make alternative plans; 

>> Move Over or Slow Down for tow trucks, police, fire, EMS, and the Texas Department of Transportation vehicles on the side of the road with emergency lights activated;

>> Buckle up everyone in the vehicle;

>> Slow down, with an emphasis in unfamiliar areas, construction zones, heavy traffic or bad weather;

>> Eliminate distractions while driving, including the usage of mobile devices;

>> Drive defensively;

>> Don’t drive fatigued;

>> Use the left lane for passing only on multi-lane roadways;

>> Steer It, Clear It if possible when involved in a non-injury crash;

>> Check your vehicle is properly maintained and ensure any cargo is secure;

>> Report road hazards or anything suspicious;

>> Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling.