By TONY EIERDAM
AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will increase DWI patrols for a 10-day period that includes the July 4th holiday. From June 28 – July 7, DPS troopers will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent.
“The Fourth of July is a time of celebration in our country, and we encourage Texans to enjoy and mark this holiday responsibly,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Impaired driving can quickly turn a time of celebration into a tragedy, so Texans should designate a sober driver or secure another form of transportation if they plan to drink alcohol. Our troopers will also be doing their part during the holiday by increasing their patrols to keep our roadways safe.”
The increased patrols that target impaired driving are funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT). During the 2012 July 4th enforcement effort, DPS troopers made 1,294 DWI arrests, and 361 of those arrests were the direct result of the increased patrols. DPS enforcement also resulted in nearly 13,700 speeding citations, more than 2,200 seat belt/child safety seat citations, 750 fugitive arrests and 518 felony arrests.
According to TxDOT, Independence Day traditionally ranks among the deadliest holiday periods on Texas highways as a result of alcohol-related crashes.
Locally, DPS trooper Jeff Poole said that although they will have extra troopers in all areas of the county, the department will put more troopers in a certain area.
"We will concentrate more around Possum Kingdom Lake," Poole said. "There will be a lot of alcohol-related events around the lake area, and that's an area we feel we need to focus on. It's getting hot and people will be drinking, and usually that's where our biggest problems are at this time of the year. Every available trooper will be working, and again, we will have troopers all over the area."