Staff Report

DPS is urging Texas motorists to put safety first on the menu while traveling this Thanksgiving weekend.

“Texans should focus on arriving safely at their destinations and make sure this Thanksgiving is about making memories—not dealing with tragedy,” said David Baker, assistant director in charge of Highway Patrol. “Impaired and reckless drivers are a given and motorists should take this into account and drive defensively.”

To help target drunk drivers, speeders and seat belt violators, DPS and many other law enforcement agencies will be out in force in an attempt to save lives and keep the roads and highways safer.

During the long Thanksgiving holiday weekend last year, DPS troopers arrested 449 drunk drivers and wrote more than 10,000 speeding tickets. In addition, 820 seat belt and child restraint citations were issued.

DPS offers these tips for a happy holiday on the roadways:

· Don’t drive drowsy; pull over or switch drivers if you need to.
· Slow down—especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.
· Don’t drink and drive; get a designated driver.
· Buckle up everyone in the vehicle.
· Keep cell phone chatter to a minimum, and don’t text while driving.
· Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained.
· Don’t give into road rage. Drive with courtesy; it’s contagious.

DPS also is a participant in Operation CARE—Combined Accident Reduction Effort—a nationwide effort by police agencies to reduce fatalities during holidays.