Police officers and troopers across Texas are increasing enforcement over the Labor Day weekend, often the most dangerous four-day stretch on Texas’ backroads and highways.
From Friday to Monday, law enforcement across the state will be looking for people not wearing seat belts, speeding, driving while intoxicated, and failing to follow Texas’ “Move Over, Slow Down” law, among other traffic violations.
“Safety must always come first,” said Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) Director Steven McCraw. “That is especially true when more people are out on the roads, like Labor Day weekend. Please remember to do your part by paying attention, buckling up, and obeying all traffic laws.”
Last Labor Day weekend, police and state troopers wrote more than 52,000 citations and warnings, including 4,397 citations for speeding, 882 seat belt and child safety restraint citations, 929 citations for driving without insurance, and 245 warnings and citations for various Move Over, Slow Down violations.
DPS also clocked 222 DWI arrests, 229 felony arrests, and 116 fugitive arrests, according to DPS figures.
Here are several tips for motorists on how to survive the long weekend:
- Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if 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. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped on the side of the road.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle. It’s not just a safety measure. 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. State law prohibits using portable wireless devices to read, write, or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. If using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it so you can keep your eyes on the road.
- Drive defensively since Labor Day travel often presents additional challenges.
- Know your route before starting a trip.
- Don’t drive tired. Give yourself lots of time to arrive at your destination.
- Keep the Texas Roadside Assistance number stored in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for assistance. The number can also be found on Texas driver’s licenses.
- On multi-lane roads, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous driving, but 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 from a secondary wreck. On some highways, you’re violating the law if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so.
- Don’t cut in front of large trucks. Try not to brake quickly in front of them, if possible. Eighteen-wheelers can’t stop as quickly as passenger vehicles.
- Check your vehicle to ensure it’s safe and 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’re traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.