Before Thanksgiving, state agencies are reminding Texans to drive safely, watch out for hazards and to transfer to emergency vehicles.
The video above is from an earlier report: Authorities crack down on impaired driving while others think of loved ones lost in crashes
The Texas Department of Public Safety will increase traffic enforcement from November 23-27, according to a press release. Over Thanksgiving weekend, DPS will also participate in Operation CARE, a nationwide campaign for disaster awareness and reduction.
This past Thanksgiving, DPS issued more than 36,000 warnings and citations, including 3,306 for speeding, the release said. The forces also arrested 225 drivers for felonies and 138 drivers for driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
“As we head into a busy holiday season, we must remember to make safety our No. 1 priority,” DPS Director Steve McCraw said in the release. “Abid by all traffic laws; don’t drink and drive; put your phones behind the wheel; and watch each other. The message is the same every year, but it’s one that can save lives.”
According to the Texas Department of Transportation, nearly a quarter of holiday traffic deaths are caused by drunk drivers. From December 1, 2021 to January 1, 2022, more than 48,600 traffic accidents occurred across the state of Texas. According to a press release from TxDOT, 433 of those crashes were fatal.
See related: Houstonians prepare for busy travel season with large crowds expected at airports and roadways
TxDOT reported that drunk driving was a factor in 23% of traffic fatalities during last year’s holiday season, with 98 people killed as a result.
Officials recommend hiring a sober driver, calling a taxi, using a transit app, calling a friend or family member, and using public transportation to ensure you get home safely when you’re drinking.
Vacation travel is approaching pre-pandemic levels
AAA Texas reports that 4 million Texans are expected to travel at least 50 miles for Thanksgiving. This includes 3.6 million drivers, according to a press release, while at least 238,000 Texans will travel to their vacation destinations.
This is about 95% of typical pre-pandemic Thanksgiving trips.
With more drivers on the road for the holidays, the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation said drivers should also expect to see more motorists and emergency vehicles on the side of the road.
SEE ALSO: Road closures along Post Oak today prior to the 34th Annual Holiday Lighting in Uptown
State law requires drivers to change lanes or slow down to 20 mph below the speed limit when a first responder passes a road stop, according to a TDLR press release. First responders include tow trucks, fire trucks, police cars, ambulances, and TxDOT vehicles.
“Our tow truck licensees work hard every day to help people who are stranded on the side of the road. Like everyone else, they are anxious to get home safely each night,” TDLR CEO Mike Arismendez Jr. said in the release. . “Vacation memories are made when the family gets together. Do your part to make it happen for everyone.”
State agencies encourage drivers to keep themselves and others safe this Thanksgiving by doing the following:
- do not drive under the influence of drugs or alcohol;
- stop or switch drivers if you feel tired;
- Ensure that the driver and all passengers are wearing seat belts.
- eliminate distractions and not use mobile devices while driving;
- moving on the side of the road and slowing down vehicles parked on the side of the road;
- If you are involved in an accident, move your vehicle to the side of the road whenever possible;
- reporting road hazards to local law enforcement;
- monitor weather/road conditions before and during travel; And the
- Allow extra time to reach your destination.
This article is from our ABC13 partner Community Impact Newspapers.