Keep driving safely: DPS calculating arrests around July 4

State & Regional

AUSTIN (Nexstar) — With the Fourth of July holiday passing, the Texas Department of Public Safety is encouraging drivers to continue to navigate Texas roads safely as the holiday week continues.

DPS increases enforcement to promote safe and sober driving during the Fourth of July weekend, paired with increased patrols.

“High visibility, all available troopers out, during those high traffic periods,” Texas Highway Patrol Sergeant Robbie Barrera said.

“Even though you’re off and enjoying the summer and the rest of the week, highway patrol along with local law enforcement are still out there,” Barrera said.

During last year’s Fourth of July enforcement, DPS issued 98,000 tickets and warnings, including 1,658 seat belt and child safety restraint citations. The agency said patrols also resulted in 529 DWI arrests, 374 fugitive arrests and 300 felony arrests.

In 2016’s enforcement period, DPS troopers issued more than 85,267 tickets and warnings, including 1,372 seat belt and child safety restraint citations. Enforcement efforts resulted in 601 DWI arrests, 322 fugitive arrests and 267 felony arrests.

An agency spokesperson anticipated the statewide results from holiday patrols for 2018 would take at least a month to compile. Barrera said she hoped public awareness would contribute to lower numbers.

“Letting the public know that there are additional law enforcement out there, so your chances of getting stopped and being arrested if you choose to get behind the wheel and drive after you’ve been drinking greatly increase,” Barrera said. “There’s also some new trends like Uber and Lyft and our taxicabs, or planning a safe ride home. Hoping that people will take that advice, maybe that’s what has done that.”

“It just takes that one time that you should’ve planned ahead and had a sober designated driver,” she added. “Don’t let that be your reality. I can only imagine being involved in a crash where you actually took the life of an innocent person.”

Meanwhile, a representative from Texas Parks and Wildlife said its department was working to gather statistics from holiday boating patrols. In 2017, game wardens issued 3,464 citations and warnings and filed 55 Boating While Intoxicated cases.

For a list of safe-driving tips from DPS, click here.

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