With the unofficial end-of-summer holiday weekend quickly approaching, law enforcement wants to remind motorists to stay safe.

Beginning Friday, Sept. 4, through Labor Day, Monday, Sept. 7, the Texas Highway Patrol will increase its enforcement on Texas roads, according to a press release issued Thursday, Sept. 3, by the Texas Department of Public Safety.

Troopers will be looking for drivers who violate the law, including those not wearing their seat belts, speeding, driving while intoxicated and failing to comply with the state’s Move Over, Slow Down law which requires motorists to move over or slow down when passing police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.

Texas Highway Patrol Sgt. Mark Tackett said all available troopers will be out in force to assist in minimizing crashes on the roadways in Cooke County.

“We understand during holiday periods there will be more traffic on the roadways and we ask that people don’t drink and drive, make sure everyone is buckled up and don’t text and drive,” Tackett said.

During the 2019 Labor Day holiday enforcement period, troopers issued 102,274 citations and warnings, including 10,506 citations for speeding; 1,461 seat belt and child safety restraint citations; and 938 warnings and citations for Move Over, Slow Down violations, according to the release. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 489 driving while intoxicated arrests, 358 fugitive arrests and 354 felony arrests.

Gainesville Police Chief Kevin Phillips said patrol will have a watchful eye out. The police will also have a unit on Moss Lake, he said.

Drivers are asked to follow these safety tips from DPS during the Labor Day holiday:

• Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you are consuming alcohol.

• Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road.

• Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.

Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones.

• Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. Also, if you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it, so you can keep your eyes on the road.

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

• Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

• On multi-lane roadways, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic, Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to use the left lane for passing only (when posted).

• If you can Steer It, Clear It: If you are involved in a non-injury crash and your vehicle can be moved, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm or a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, it’s against the law.

• Check your vehicle to make sure it is properly maintained and always ensure your cargo is secure.

• Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency.

• Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit www.drivetexas.org.

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