AUSTIN – The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) is urging Texans to drive responsibly and take extra precautions to help keep roadways safe during the heavily travelled Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

“Unique challenges – including increased traffic, possible winter weather and impaired driving – can make holiday travel particularly challenging and potentially dangerous,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “DPS troopers will be working around-the-clock to protect travelers on our roadways, and drivers must do their part and always drive sober.”

DPS troopers will be patrolling Texas roadways throughout the holiday weekend to promote safety and identify dangerous drivers.

During the Thanksgiving weekend in 2013, DPS troopers arrested 387 individuals for driving while intoxicated, issued 6,848 speeding citations, 804 citations for no insurance and 704 seat belt/child safety seat citations. DPS patrols also resulted in 244 fugitive arrests and 187 felony arrests during the same time period.

DPS offers the following tips for safe travel during the Thanksgiving holiday:

• Don't drink and drive. Designate a driver or take a cab.

• Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas and heavy traffic.

• Eliminate distractions, including the use of mobile devices.

• Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it's the law.

• 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 – get plenty of rest before trips or take breaks as needed.

• Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.

• Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.

Gainesville Police Department is also gearing up to help prevent drunk driving.

“The holidays are a great time for you to get together with family and friends for food, drinks and fun,” public information officer Belva McClinton said. “But when someone decides to drink and drive, all that fun can quickly turn to tragedy.”

McClinton noted the Mothers Against Drunk Driving website states in 2012 alone there were over 10,300 people killed and about 345,000 people injured in drunk driving accidents.  

“During that year, on average, someone was killed in a drunk driving crash every 51 minutes and every 90 seconds, someone was injured,” McClinton said, adding “According to the Texas Crime Reports, in 2013 there were over 74,700 arrest made for DWI. If you are planning on drinking, remember to drink responsibly and have a designated driver to make sure you, your family and your friends get home safely.”

For more information on MADD visit http://www.madd.org/drunk-driving/

For information from the Texas Department of Public Safety visit http://www.txdps.state.tx.us/crimereports/13/citCh9.pdf

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