AUSTIN, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — As Labor Day weekend approaches, the Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced that the Texas Highway Patrol will increase law enforcement from Friday until Monday and also offered safety tips to keep in mind during the Labor Day holiday.

DPS detailed that the increase in patrol is aimed to reduce crashes as officers will be looking for people who are not wearing their seat belts, along with drivers who are speeding, and people driving while intoxicated.

“Safety must always come first,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “That is especially true when more people are out on the roads, like Labor Day weekend. Please remember to do your part by paying attention, buckling up and obeying all traffic laws.”

According to DPS, during the 2021 Labor Day holiday weekends, troopers issued 52,227 citations and warnings including, 4,397 citations for speeding, 882 seat belt and child restraint citations, 929 citations for no insurance, and 245 warnings and citations for a “Move Over, Slow Down” violations.

Here are some safety tips for the Labor Day weekend, according to Texas DPS:

  • Don’t drink and drive. Make alternate plans if you’re consuming alcohol;
  • Move Over or Slow Down for police, fire, EMS, TxDOT vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated. Show the same courtesy to fellow drivers who are stopped on the side of the road;
  • Buckle up everyone in the vehicle — it’s 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. Texas law prohibits the use of portable wireless devices to read, write or send an electronic message unless the vehicle is stopped. If you’re using a navigation device or app, have a passenger operate it so you can keep your eyes on the road;
  • Drive defensively, as holiday travel can present additional challenges;
  • Know your route before beginning your trip;
  • Don’t drive fatigued. Allow plenty of time to reach your destination;
  • 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;
  • On multi-lane roads, 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 use the left lane for passing only (when posted);
  • 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 traffic impact. Leaving vehicles in a traffic lane increases traffic congestion and leaves those involved with an increased risk of harm of a secondary wreck. On some highways, if you don’t move your vehicle when it’s safe to do so, you’re violating the law;
  • Don’t cut in front of large trucks, and try not to brake quickly in front of them, if possible. They can’t maneuver as easily as passenger vehicles and pickup trucks;
  • Check your vehicle to make sure it’s properly maintained and always ensure your cargo is secure;
  • Report road hazards or anything suspicious to the nearest law enforcement agency;
  • Monitor weather and road conditions wherever you’re traveling. For road conditions and closures in Texas, visit Drive Texas.

DPS reminded communities that the iWatchTexas Program is available for people who want to report any suspicious activity in their area in order to “prevent dangerous attacks.”

Tips can also be reported through the mobile app, or by calling 844-643-2251 as “all reports are confidential,” Texas DPS added.