DPS reminds drivers to travel safely during holidays

Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) troopers will be stepping up enforcement efforts to ensure safety on the roadways and seek out impaired drivers during the period from December 20 through January 1.

Additional troopers will be on the road targeting drunk drivers in locations where alcohol-related crashes are most likely to occur. This effort is funded by a $1.5 million grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) for targeted DWI enforcement over various holidays throughout the year.

During the same period in 2010, troopers made 1,264 driving while intoxicated (DWI) arrests. Of those, 449 were made by troopers whose patrols were funded through the TxDOT grant. In addition, troopers issued 17,436 speeding citations, 2,426 safety restraint citations, and 2,593 no insurance citations. Troopers also made 1,284 felony and fugitive arrests, and recovered 50 stolen vehicles.

All available troopers will also be on patrol across the state during the Christmas and New Year's weekends to enforce traffic safety as part of Operation Holiday.

"We want everyone's holiday to end as well as it starts," said Assistant Director Luis Gonzalez, Chief of the Texas Highway Patrol Division. "Please drive safely, and if you're going to drink, designate a driver."

DPS offers the following tips to ensure safe travels: Don't drink and drive; designate a driver. Be aware of, and prepared for, changing weather conditions. Don't text and drive and keep cell phone chatter to a minimum. Just drive. Make sure everyone in the car is buckled up. Don't travel fatigued. Switch drivers or find a safe location and take a break. Drive courteously. Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.