State agencies urge safe driving during Thanksgiving holiday

The Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation and Texas Department of Public Safety are urging drivers to practice cautious driving to get to and from their holiday celebrations safely.

This year, large numbers of travelers are expected on Texas roads, which means more breakdowns and traffic stops are likely as well.

“This Thanksgiving more people will be out and it’s important to remember it’s up to each one of us to keep the roads safe,” DPS Director Steven McCraw said in a news release. “DPS will do its part to keep Texas safe by holding people accountable, and we want everyone who may be driving for the holiday to do their part by obeying all traffic laws, so everyone gets to their destinations unharmed.”

Due to the high influx of traffic, drivers should pay extra attention to the road and prepare to react quickly.

The department asks that Thanksgiving drivers slow down or move over for stopped emergency vehicles including tow trucks, police cars and fire trucks.

As part of the annual nationwide Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort) initiative Texas Highway Patrol Troopers will increase enforcement on the roads from through Sunday.

During the 2020 enforcement effort, a total of 36,902 warnings and citations were issued, including 5,287 for speeding; 752 for driving without insurance; 513 for seat belt and child seat violations; and 245 violations for Move Over, Slow Down.

Last year’s enforcement efforts also resulted in 395 felony arrests, 205 DWI arrests and 120 fugitive arrests.

State troopers will be looking for people not wearing seat belts, driving while intoxicated, speeding and failing to follow the Move Over, Slow Down law, among other traffic violations.

Texas law requires drivers to slow down at least 20 miles per hour under the posted speed limit or, if able, to change lanes when they’re passing a first responder stopped on the road.

“Our tow truck licensees work hard every day to help people who are stranded on the side of the road,” Brian E. Francis, executive director for the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation, said in a news release. “And, like everyone else, they are anxious to return home safely each night. Please slow down or move over when you see emergency vehicles stopped on the side of the road. It’s the safe thing to do and it’s the law.

“Let’s make the holiday memorable for positive reasons and not because someone was killed or injured.”