According to a DPS press release, this period of time including Christmas and New Years Eve is one of the most “high-risk” times for frequent alcohol-related crashes every year.
“Historically, the holiday season brings an increased potential for drinking and driving incidents, and these enhanced DPS patrols will help save lives,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “Impaired driving can easily turn a holiday celebration into a tragic situation.
By designating a sober driver or finding alternative transportation if drinking alcohol is expected, Texans can do their part in keeping our roadways safe and making the holidays memorable for the right reasons.”
Statistics included in the release said during last year’s Christmas/New Year enforcement effort, DPS troopers made more than 1,200 DWI arrests and issued more than 17,600 speeding tickets and another 2,000 tickets for seat belt or child safety citations. Troopers also arrested 258 fugitives and 211 felons during this same time because of increased patrols.
DPS Senior Trooper and public information officer Gary M. Rozzell could not be reached for local statistics.
MWPD Lt. Randy Wright said it is important that people remember never to drink and drive, even if they are below the legal limit for alcohol consumption. Wright cited the Texas Penal Code adding that a person’s blood-alcohol level does not have to necessarily be 0.08 for them to be arrested for driving while intoxicated.
The DPS offered the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:
Don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab. Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.
Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it’s the law.
Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.
Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS and Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it’s the law.
Don’t drive fatigued.
Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.