Andrew Traub

Troopers targeting dangerous drivers in Austin

More Texas Department of Public Safety troopers will be on roads statewide this Thanksgiving, looking for drunken drivers on Austin roads, people who are speeding and those who aren’t wearing a seat belt or are committing other violations.

Increased patrols will begin today and last through Sunday, the department said. Troopers will be looking for any drivers violating traffic laws, including those driving without insurance and people who do not comply with the Move Over, Slow Down law, which encourages safety around stopped emergency vehicles.

“As we prepare for the Thanksgiving holiday, we want to remind every Texan of their duty to drive defensively and help keep our roadways safe,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said. “The holidays may look different this year, but it is still up to each of us to obey traffic laws and make safety our top priority behind the wheel.”

In 2019, troopers issued 59,146 warnings and citations for speeding, seat belt and child seat violations, driving without insurance, and Move Over, Slow Down violations during the holiday week.

The agency made 304 arrests on charges of driving while intoxicated as well, officials said.

Austin police also are cracking down on drunken drivers this holiday season. Throughout November, December and early January, police patrols will be targeting dangerous drivers under their no-refusal initiative, which allows officers to apply for blood search warrants in cases in which a driver suspected of being impaired refuses to provide a blood or breath sample.

DPS officials said drivers should follow the agency’s safety tips this Thanksgiving:

• Don’t drink and drive.

• Move over or slow down for police, firefighters, medics, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights on.

• Make sure everyone in your vehicle has a seat belt on.

• Slow down during bad weather, in heavy traffic and in construction areas or unfamiliar places.

• Don’t text and drive.

• Don’t drive when you’re tired.

• Use the left lane for passing.

• If you end up in a crash and can move your vehicle to the side of the road, do so.

• Make sure your vehicle is up to date on maintenance to ensure a safe ride.

• Report road hazards or any suspicious activity to law enforcement.

• Check the weather and road conditions.

For those driving home for the holidays this year, be sure to take coronavirus precautions. Make as few stops as you can. If you have to stop, wear a mask, use hand sanitizer and pick a place without big crowds. Use drive-throughs if you can, and pay for your gas outside.

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