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The Texas Department of Public Safety says state troopers will be out in force over the Independence Day holiday period, and they’ll be conducting two traffic enforcement operations.

According to Sergeant Stephanie Davis, from Wednesday, July 3rd through Friday, July 5th, DPS troopers will increase traffic enforcement as part of “Operation CARE”, which stands for Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort, and also “Operation Holiday”. Davis said the highway patrol will be looking for those who violate the Move Over, Slow Down law, as well as other traffic violations such as DWI, speeding, and failure to wear a seat belt.

The Move Over/Slow Down Law, originally passed in 2003, requires drivers to move over or slow down when they come upon certain vehicles, such as police cars, fire trucks, ambulances, wreckers, and Texas Department of Transportation work trucks that are stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated.

DPS Director Steven McGraw said “As we celebrate our nation’s independence, it’s important to remember to do so safely and responsibly”.

According to DPS, last year during the 4th of July period, troopers issued more than 57,000 citations and warnings, including 1,023 seat belt and child safety restraint citations. DPS enforcement efforts also resulted in 256 DWI arrests, 212 fugitive arrests, and 204 felony arrests.

DPS issued the following safety tips:

• Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.

• 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 the impact on traffic. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane not only increases traffic congestion, but it also leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm and chance for a secondary collision. On some highways, it is actually a violation of the law to not move your vehicle over when it is safe to do so.

• Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.

• Slow down — especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.

• Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices. Texas law prohibits using a portable wireless device to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped.

• Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s the law.

• Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.

• Don’t drive fatigued — allow plenty of time to reach your destination.

• If you see a road hazard or if you observe anything suspicious, report it to the nearest law enforcement agency.

• On multi-lane roadways, use the left lane for passing only. Not only is it courteous driving and avoids impeding traffic, Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right and to only use the left lane for passing (when posted).

• Before your trip begins, make sure your vehicle is properly maintained and always double check to make sure all cargo is secure.

• Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you are traveling. For road conditions/closings in Texas, visit Drive Texas.

Broadcast journalist & on-air personality - Rayburn Broadcasting Company - KJAS 107.3 FM in Jasper, TX and KFAH 99.1 FM in Pineland, TX