AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety’s (DPS) annual July Fourth holiday traffic operations — Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) and Operation Holiday — are underway to help keep drivers safe on Texas roadways. These enforcement efforts will run through July 5. DPS Troopers are on the lookout for individuals who do not adhere to the Move Over, Slow Down law, as well as those who commit other traffic violations such as DWI, speeding and failure to wear a seat belt.
Operation Holiday focuses on individuals who violate traffic laws. During the 2019 enforcement campaign, Troopers issued more than 94,252 citations and warnings, including 1,593 seat belt and child safety restraint citations. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 8,601 speeding citations; 395 DWI arrests; and 320 fugitive arrests.
Operation CARE is geared towards reducing crashes and looking for violations of the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law, with the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) assisting Troopers in a non-enforcement capacity. The law, originally passed in 2003, requires drivers to move over or slow down when certain vehicles — including police, fire, EMS, TxDOT vehicles and tow trucks — are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. During the Fourth of July enforcement in 2019, there were 661 warnings and 224 citations issued for people who violated the Move Over, Slow Down law.
DPS offers the following safety tips for those traveling this Fourth of July:
- Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you are consuming alcohol.
- Move Over or SlowDown for police, fire, EMS, TxDOT vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.
- Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones.
- Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.
- Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges.
- 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 to use the left lane for passing only (when posted).
- 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 to minimize traffic impact. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm or a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, you’re violating the law.
- Check your vehicle to make sure it is properly maintained and always ensure your cargo is secure.
- Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.
- Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.
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