EL PASO, TEXAS - The El Paso Police Department's DWI Task Force, El Paso County Sheriff's Department, and the Department of Public Safety (DPS) will partner together in a combined effort to address impaired driving on New Year's Eve. This operation will focus on keeping the El Paso roadways safe and removing DWI drivers from our streets.
The effort will place sixteen officers, troopers and deputies throughout El Paso. The DWI operation is in addition to each Regional Command Center addressing traffic issues within their regions. According to Lt. Rodney Liston, the Commander of the DWI Task Force, "it is law enforcement partnerships such as this that benefit all El Pasoans."
"Drinking and driving are always a concern during holidays, and there is no doubt that increased enforcement by DPS and other law enforcement will help save lives," said DPS Director Steven McCraw. "But the public must also do their part to help make sure all travelers on our roads have a safe and happy holiday season. Plan ahead. Designate a non-drinking driver or find alternative transportation if you plan to drink, and never get in a car with an intoxicated driver."
During the Christmas/New Year holiday enforcement effort last year, DPS troopers made more than 1,100 DWI arrests statewide, and approximately 350 were the direct result of the increased patrols. DPS enforcement also resulted in more than 15,000 speeding citations, 2,000 seat belt/child safety seat citations and 18,000 other citations. In addition, troopers made 1,020 fugitive arrests and 623 felony arrests during routine patrol operations.
DPS offers the following additional tips for safe travel during the holidays:
- Slow down – especially in bad weather, construction areas, heavy traffic and unfamiliar areas.
- Eliminate distractions, and don't text while driving.
- Buckle up everyone in the vehicle – it's the law.
- Don't drive fatigued, and allow plenty of time to reach your destination.
- Drive defensively, as holiday travel may present additional challenges.
- Make sure your vehicle is properly maintained before your trip begins.
- Slow down or move over for tow trucks and police, fire and EMS vehicles stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated – it's the law.