May 23—AUSTIN — Memorial Day is the unofficial kickoff to summer, and the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a press release to remind drivers to celebrate safely as they enjoy their holiday.
Beginning Monday through May 30, the Texas Highway Patrol will participate in Click It or Ticket, as well as Operation CARE. Click It or Ticket is an enforcement campaign that encourages people to wear their seat belts. Operation CARE is a specialized campaign in which Troopers look for drivers who are speeding, intoxicated or violating other laws. Troopers will also watch for drivers not complying with the state's Move Over, Slow Down law.
"Memorial Day always means busy highways across the state, and we encourage all drivers to take their time to get to their destinations safely," DPS Director Steven McCraw stated in the press release. "By following traffic laws, paying attention to other drivers and buckling your seat belt, we can all do our part to make the roads as safe as possible and enjoy the long Memorial Day holiday."
During the 2021 Memorial Day campaign, troopers issued more than 115,700 citations and warnings, the press release detailed. This includes 6,513 citations for speeding; 1,860 for no insurance; and more than 1,200 citations for individuals without seat belt or child seat restraints. DPS also arrested 445 people on DWI charges, 333 fugitives and 667 people for other felony charges.
DPS encourages drivers to follow these safety tips during Memorial Day weekend and beyond:
>> 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. So far in 2022, there have been 3,423 violations.
>> 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. 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.
>> On multi-lane roads, 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).
>> 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.
>> 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.
>> 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 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.