AMARILLO, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) recently provided safety tips for the holidays season as family and friends begin to travel.

DPS detailed that the Texas Highway Patrol will start their annual Christmas and New Year’s holiday traffic enforcement on Dec. 23 through Jan. 2 as part of Operation CARE (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort). Additional patrol units will be out looking for people speeding, not wearing their seat belts, and driving while intoxicating.

DPS reminded the community to report any suspicious activity by using the iWatchTexas Community Reporting System.

“We wish everyone a safe and happy holiday,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Whether you`re staying local to end the year or traveling, we encourage everyone to make safety their number one priority by following a few tips that will help make our roads and celebrations safer for everyone.”

DPS reported that during the 2021 Christmas and New Years enforcement there were more than 91,000 citations and warning issued including 30,291 speeding warnings/citations; 2,780 seat belt and child seat violations; 1,881 citations for driving without insurance; and 456 citations and warnings for Move Over, Slow Down violations.

DPS provided the following safety tips for the holiday season:

  • Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you plan to drink;
  • Move Over or Slow Down for police, EMS, Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with their emergency lights on;
  • Everyone in the vehicle needs to buckle up as its the law;
  • Slow down, especially in bad weather, heavy traffic, unfamiliar areas or construction zones;
  • Eliminate distractions while driving, including the use of mobile devices;
  • If you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it, so you can keep your eyes on the road;
  • Keep the Texas Roadside Assistance number stored in your phone. Dial 1-800-525-5555 for any type of assistance. The number can also be found on the back of a Texas Driver License;
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges;
  • Don’t drive while tired — allow plenty of time to reach your destination;
  • Use the left lane for passing only while driving on multi-lane roads as Texas law requires slower traffic to keep to the right;
  • Don’t cut in front of large trucks and try not to brake quickly in front of them;
  • Steer It, Clear It: If you are involved in a non-injury crash, clear the traffic lanes to minimize traffic impact;
  • Check your vehicles to establish proper maintenance;
  • Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest officer;
  • Monitor weather and road conditions.

In addition, Texas DPS is asking the community to report any suspicious activities as it pertains to human trafficking this holiday season.

DPS released the following indicators of human trafficking:

  • The person appears to be under control of another person either physically (someone else controls the person’s possessions i.e., ID, money, phone) or psychologically (little to no eye contact, unable to speak for themselves or unable to make simple decisions without approval).
  • The person has little to no awareness of their surroundings including where they are or where they are headed.
  • The person has untreated illness or infection, visible injuries, appears malnourished or sleep deprived.
  • The person’s clothing is inappropriate for the weather or environment. The person is dressed in a manner that does not appear age appropriate or makes them appear older.
  • The person is being transported to and from work by their employer.
  • The person lives where they work or works excessively long or unusual hours.
  • The person’s workplace has security measures that are unusual or excessive for the type of business (i.e., boarded or opaque windows, excessive security cameras).

The combination and context of indicators, according to DPS, may indicate human trafficking and therefore one should call 911 immediately to report it or call the National Human Trafficking hotline at 1-888-373-7888.

“Remember do not endanger yourself or others by intervening or confronting someone you suspect of engaging in human trafficking if it is not safe to do so,” DPS concluded.