Categorized | Crime & Courtrooms

DPS troopers out in force July 3-5 looking for offenders

Police lights at nightTexas Department of Public Safety troopers are conducting two simultaneous traffic operations July 3-5 to keep roads safe this Fourth of July holiday.

Traffic enforcement increases will take place as part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) and Operation Holiday.

Troopers will look for violations such as driving while intoxicated, speeding, and failure to wear a seat belt as well as the Move Over, Slow Down law originally passed in 2003.

Operation CARE, according to Texas DPS, is aimed at violators of the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law, which requires drivers to move over or slow down when vehicles for police, fire, EMS, and TxDOT as well as tow trucks are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights on. This year between January 1 and June 25, DPS conducted 13,988 enforcement actions for violations of Move Over, Slow Down.

Operation Holiday is aimed toward those who violate traffic laws. During last year’s holiday campaign, troopers issued over 57,000 citations and warnings, including 1,023 seat belt and child safety restraint citations. Enforcement efforts last year resulted in 256 DWI arrests, 212 fugitive arrests, and 204 felony arrests.

“We want to remind everyone to follow posted speed limits, wear your seat belt, and designate a sober ride home. Remember, if you see an emergency vehicle or tow truck on the side of the road, slow down or move over,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “By celebrating responsibly, you can help ensure we all make it home safely.”

Texas DPS shared the below safety tips for drivers to follow this Fourth of July holiday:

  • Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
  • If you can Steer It, Clear It. If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane not only increases traffic congestion, it also leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm and chance for a secondary collision. On some highways, it is actually a violation of the law to not move your vehicle over when it is safe to do so.
  • Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, and TxDOT vehicles as well as tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
  • Slow down — especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits using a portable wireless device to read, write, or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
  • Don’t drive fatigued; allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
  • If you see a road hazard or if you observe anything suspicious, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.
  • On multi-lane roadways, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic, Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and only use the left lane for passing (when posted).
  • Before your trip begins, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and always double check to make sure all cargo is secure.
  • Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions/closings in Texas, visit DriveTexas.org.

jared@thepicayune.com

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