TEXAS, USA — Ahead of the July Fourth weekend in Texas, multiple state agencies are implementing safety campaigns to help keep the roads as safe as possible.
The Texas Highway Patrol, which is under the Texas Department of Public Safety, will be initiating two traffic safety campaigns during the upcoming holiday weekend looking for people violating traffic laws from Friday, July 1, through Monday, July 4.
“Our nation’s freedom is something worth celebrating, and I encourage everyone to do it in a responsible way,” Steven McCraw said, the director of the Texas Department of Public Safety. “This includes being mindful of our state’s traffic laws and being courteous of other drivers on the roads, so everyone can have a good holiday.”
The first campaign, Operation Holiday, will run from July 2 through July 4 and will target drivers who violate traffic laws. This includes drivers speeding, not wearing seat belts or driving while intoxicated.
During the 2021 campaign, there were 55,776 citations and warnings issued. This included:
- 17,376 citations and warnings for speeding
- 2,006 for driving without seat belts or child safety seats
- 1,632 for driving without insurance
In addition, there were 298 people arrested for driving while intoxicated, 280 felony arrests and 145 fugitive arrests.
The second campaign, Operation Crash Awareness Reduction Effort (CARE), will run from July 1 through July 4. This will focus on reducing crashes and violations of the state’s "Move Over, Slow Down" law.
From Jan. 1 through June 7, 2022, there were 4,135 "Move Over, Slow Down" violations. The law requires all drivers to slow down when police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) vehicles and tow trucks are stopped on the side of the road with their emergency lights activated.
The Texas Department of Public Safety also offered the following safety tips for people driving during the Fourth of July holiday:
- Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you are consuming alcohol.
- Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, TxDOT vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle.
- 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. 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.
- Use the left lane for passing only on multi-lane roads. Not only is it courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic, but Texas law also requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to use the left lane for passing only.
- Don’t cut in front of large trucks, and try not to brake quickly in front of them. They can’t maneuver as easily as passenger vehicles and pickup trucks.
- Steer It, Clear It, if you can: 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.
- Keep the Texas Roadside Assistance number stored in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of assistance. The number can also be found on the back of a Texas Driver's License.
- 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 Drive Texas.