AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will significantly increase trooper patrols this Memorial Day weekend to help keep Texas roadways safe. During the increased patrols Friday, May 24, through Monday, May 27, troopers will be looking for drunk drivers, speeders, seat belt violators and other traffic violators statewide.
“Memorial Day is a time of reverence and remembrance for all those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice in service to our nation,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS encourages Texans to mark the holiday responsibly by adhering to safe driving practices and by not drinking and driving. Troopers will be out in force, and are prepared to issue tickets to drivers disobeying traffic laws in an effort to keep our roadways safe.”
Last year during the Memorial Day weekend, DPS troopers arrested 609 drunk drivers and issued more than 6,000 speeding citations, nearly 1,400 seat belt and child safety restraint tickets, and cited 825 drivers for driving without insurance. Additionally, troopers arrested 264 wanted fugitives and 219 suspects with felony warrants. The increased traffic enforcement also resulted in 10 drug cases and 16 stolen vehicles recovered.
You might think Don’t mess with Texas® is just a saying, but it’s way more. It’s a call to action created by the Texas Department of Transportation 27 years ago to stop litterers in their tracks. Today, TxDOT announced the state’s anti-litter campaign is getting a makeover. With a new look, Don’t mess with Texas® is designed to appeal to young adults between the ages of 16 and 34 who were not born when TxDOT first rolled out its now world-famous litter prevention program.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will increase DWI patrols from December 21 – January 1, which includes both the Christmas and New Year holidays. DPS Troopers will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent. The enhanced patrols that target intoxicated drivers are funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.
“Drinking and driving are always a concern during holidays, and there is no doubt that increased enforcement by DPS and other law enforcement will help save lives,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “But the public must also do their part to help make sure all travelers on our roads have a safe and happy holiday season. Plan ahead. Designate a non-drinking driver or find alternative
Transportation if you plan to drink, and never get in a car with an intoxicated driver.”
During the Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, DPS Troopers made more than 1,100 DWI arrests, and approximately 350 were the direct result of the increased patrols. DPS enforcement also resulted in more than 15,000 speeding citations, 2,000 seat belt/child safety seat citations and 18,000 other citations. In addition, Troopers made 1,020 fugitive arrests and 623 felony arrests during routine patrol operations.
Navigating construction can be difficult and risky for drivers and workers. As the Texas Department of Transportation tackles one of its largest construction projects in department history – expanding or improving more than 100 miles of I-35 across the state – educating the public on the necessity of driving safely through work zones is a top priority.
“Interstate 35 is the Main Street of Texas serving as a major artery for not only motorists, but for the businesses that make our great state the economic powerhouse it is,” said John Barton, TxDOT’s deputy executive director. “Unfortunately, the reality is we are beginning to see many crashes in work zones threatening our front line teams who risk their lives daily to keep Texas moving. To better protect them, we’re ramping up our educational efforts to encourage Texans to use extreme caution when driving through work zones.”
Also at great risk are drivers. In 2011, there were 14,670 crashes in roadway construction and maintenance zones in Texas, resulting in 116 fatalities, the majority of which were motorists. Currently, TxDOT has 20 active work zones along I-35 encompassing 109.6 miles from north to south Texas – the most the agency has ever had on the state’s main corridor. While these work zones indicate great progress for our state, they also call for enhanced enforcement from the Texas Department of Public Safety.
Heading to grandma’s house this Thanksgiving? Results of a reader survey from Texas Highways – the state’s official travel magazine – show 48 percent of Texans said, “yes.” Among those, 92 percent said they will be traveling by car on Texas roadways, which is why the Texas Department of Transportation wants to remind drivers to obey all traffic laws when driving.
“Historically, the busiest travel days are the day before and the Sunday following Thanksgiving,” said John Barton, TxDOT deputy executive director. “Thanksgiving is a time to be spent with family and friends, so we want to make sure Texans get to where they need to be safely.”
In 2011, there were 848 serious injuries and 26 deaths from traffic crashes that occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday reporting period. In an effort to reduce the number of traffic fatalities this year, TxDOT is asking drivers to follow a few simple rules of the road:
- Pay attention.
- Buckle seatbelts.
- Put phone away.
- Left lane for passing only.
- Never drink and drive.
- Obey all traffic laws.
As hard as it is to believe, the last day we were able to enjoy without a single fatality on Texas roads was 12 years ago today, November 7, 2000. That means since this date, at least one person has died every single day on a Texas highway or roadway, bringing the total to 41,252 fatalities – almost the size of the population in San Marcos.
“One fatality on a Texas roadway is one too many, and to see as many as eight or 10 in a single day is unacceptable,” said Phil Wilson TxDOT executive director. “As we acknowledge these tragic statistics, we are asking Texans to please help us make our roadways safer.”
In 2011 alone, Texas experienced 3,048 traffic fatalities. The majority of these traffic fatalities resulted from people who did not use seat belts, were drinking and driving and/or driving distracted:
- 28.9 percent of people killed in fatal crashes were not wearing seatbelts
- 34.9 percent were attributed to drinking and driving
- 13.4 percent were associated with people being distracted (i.e. texting and driving)
TxDOT continues to partner with the Texas Department of Public Safety and local law enforcement to protect all drivers on our roadways.
“You asked, we listened,” announced officials as Texas Department of Transportation launched the newly redesigned www.txdot.gov. The new website was created specifically with the needs of Texans in mind. From drivers and individuals with a business focus to elected officials and other government staff, the new TxDOT website will undoubtedly provide much better service to all Texans who use it.
“The redesign of the TxDOT website reflects our commitment to listening to people all over the state and delivering a great customer experience,” said Phil Wilson, TxDOT executive director. “We hope Texans will use our site and get the information they need faster than ever before.”
The website consists of the following four sections each geared toward different audiences. Each section contains its own unique navigation, or menus, across the top of the page to help users quickly find useful information such as:
The Driver page highlights travel and safety, including hurricane evacuation information and winter driving safety tips.
The Business page is geared toward businesses ranging from the small businesses to large contractors who seek to partner with TxDOT.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) today announced the launch of a new public awareness campaign created to inform parents and caregivers of the critical need to properly restrain their children when riding in a vehicle.
According to the National Center for Health Statistics, vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for children 14 years of age and younger. A 2011 study by the Texas Transportation Institute in 14 Texas cities found that 10.5 percent of observed children were riding unrestrained. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that roughly three out of four child safety seats are not used correctly.
The “Save Me With A Seat” campaign will run September 16-22 to coincide with National Child Passenger Safety Week. The campaign will incorporate the use of TV, radio, print, social media and out-of-home components to reach the public and call attention to proper seat installation and placement as well as ensure Texas children are in the right safety seat for their weight and height.
During the campaign, TxDOT and its partner organizations will be out in full force in communities across the state at free safety seat check-ups to help Texas families learn how to correctly secure their children in the appropriate child safety seats, booster seats and seat belts.
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) will increase DWI patrols from August 19 – September 5, which includes the Labor Day holiday weekend. DPS troopers will focus DWI patrols in high-risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are most frequent. The enhanced patrols that target impaired drivers are funded through a grant from the Texas Department of Transportation.
“As the result of this grant, our troopers will be able to increase patrols on our roadways, which will make the roads safer for all travelers.” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Drinking and driving is always a concern during holidays, and getting intoxicated drivers off our roads saves lives.”
During the Labor Day enforcement effort last year, DPS troopers made more than 2,000 DWI arrests, and approximately 550 of those were the direct result of the increased patrols. Last year during this same time period, DPS enforcement also resulted in more than 25,000 speeding citations, 4,368 seat belt/child safety seat citations and 4,057 no insurance tickets. In addition, troopers made 1,409 fugitive arrests, 958 felony arrests and 882 drug arrests during routine patrol operations.