Special to the Bulletin

The Texas Highway Patrol said Wednesday that troopers are increasing patrols to reduce traffic fatalities and crashes to ensure motorists of a safe July 4 holiday weekend. Troopers will be looking for people who are driving drunk, speeding or not wearing safety belts.

“If the thought of killing or injuring others on the road while you’re driving drunk is not enough to make you drive sober, just remember that our troopers will be looking to arrest you,” said Col. Thomas A. Davis Jr, director of the DPS. “Many drunk drivers think that they are sober enough to drive and discover that they are wrong when they’re arrested and taken to jail.”

Texans can avoid jail by driving sober, Davis said. They should designate a sober driver before the drinking starts and make sure the driver stays sober. Instead of risking drinking too much, the sober driver should stick to all nonalcoholic drinks before getting behind the wheel.

Last year during the extended holiday weekend (July 3-8), DPS troopers made 689 driving while intoxicated arrests and issued 10,445 speeding citations. During that same weekend, they issued 2,167 tickets for safety belt violations and 577 for child safety seat violations.

This year, beginning Friday and running through Sunday, the Texas Highway Patrol will have all available troopers patrolling highways throughout the state, and are participating in Operation CARE (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) — a nationwide campaign by state police agencies to reduce fatalities during holiday periods. They are also participating in Operation Holiday, a statewide effort by law enforcement to reduce fatalities during holiday weekends.

Here are some driving tips the DPS recommends for travelers:

• Slow down, especially if weather and road conditions do not allow for the designated speed.

• Secure everyone in the vehicle properly, either with a safety belt or in the appropriate car seat or booster.

• Save phone calls for home or find a safe place to pull over to make your calls.

• Make sure you have enough gas in the fuel tank to make it to your destination.

• Drive with courtesy — do not participate in road rage behavior.