By Margaret Mitschke*
As the Fourth of July draws near, the Texas Department of Public Safety issued a news release June 25th about the holiday and increased law enforcement activities. DPS will increase Driving While Intoxicated (DWI) patrols from June 26th-July 7th in high risk locations at times when alcohol-related crashes are more likely to occur. DPS Director Steven McCraw made this statement about the holiday and safety:
“As Texans make their plans for the Fourth of July, DPS is urging everyone to enjoy the holiday responsibly. Driving while impaired can have deadly consequences, so Texans who plan to drink alcohol should always designate a sober driver or choose alternative forms of transportation. During the holiday, DPS troopers will be increasing patrols to help keep travelers safe and take dangerous drivers off the road.”
DPS also included several statistics about the 2014 July 4th enforcement period, including:
- More than 1,050 DWI arrests were made;
- 219 of these arrests were made due to the increase of patrols in high-risk locations during times when alcohol related crashes were more likely to occur;
- 15,000 speeding citations were issued;
- 2,500 seat belt/child safety seat citations were issued
According to TxDOT, more than 1,000 people in Texas were killed last year in motor vehicle crashes involving a driver who was under the influence of alcohol. These fatalities accounted for 29% of all traffic fatalities in 2014.
This Fourth of July holiday remember to be safe, drink responsibly, designate a driver, and have a way to safely get home after drinking.