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Troopers out in force for Independence Day

No surprise, but be aware - Texas Highway Patrol troopers will be out in force today on state roadways as part of the department’s enhanced Independence Day traffic enforcement period. DPS officials report their troopers will be looking for drunken drivers as well as speeding, seat belt and other traffic violators. According to Texas Department of Transportation statistics, the July Fourth holiday ranks among the deadliest holiday periods on Texas highways as a result of alcohol-related crashes. Last year during the July Fourth holiday enforcement period, Texas troopers arrested 529 people for Driving While Intoxicated. Those state officers also wrote more than 98,000 tickets and warnings over the holiday weekend. That includes 1,658 seat belt and child restraint violation tickets. That does not include similar citations from other police agencies. DPS officials offer the following tips to ensure safe travels, not only during your Independence Day Celebration but also year-round. Drivers should minimize distractions as much as possible. That means no texting while driving. Also, keep cell phone calls to a minimum. Don’t travel when you are tired; instead, switch drivers or find a safe location and take a break.Experts also say to adjust speed for weather, traffic conditions and emergency vehicles. Obviously, never ever drink and drive. Make sure everyone in the vehicle – front and back seat - is buckled up. Remember, it’s the law. DPS officials also remind drivers to slow down to 20 miles per hour below the marked speed limit when approaching stopped emergency vehicles and tow trucks with emergency lights activated. The other option is to vacate the lane closest to that emergency vehicle if the road has multiple lanes traveling in the same direction. Have a happy and safe Fourth of July.

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