By ESTEVAN MEDRANO
Port Isabel-South Padre Press
The Texas Department of Public Safety (DPS) announced Friday it will increase patrols to handle the highways and roadways congested by Spring Break visitors. The reinforced patrols, funded by a grant provided from the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), will continue through March 22 with a focus on patrolling locations that are considered high-risk for intoxicated motorists and alcohol related accidents.
“Drivers who disregard the law and choose to drive drunk not only put themselves and their passengers in harm’s way – they endanger everyone else on the road,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw. “Taking impaired drivers off Texas roadways during Spring Break is a top priority for DPS. We urge the public to always drive sober and to obtain alternate transportation or designate a sober driver if they plan to drink alcohol.”
According to a statement released by DPS, last season’s Spring Break resulted in nearly 1,400 DWI arrests and officials estimate approximately 170 of those to be the direct result of the increased manpower.
On South Padre Island, the task of identifying DWI offenders was more practical during the presence of Coca-Cola Beach, due to it regularly having the highest concentration of Spring Break activity. However, for the past two years, new sponsors and venues have spread the masses of visitors thin, forcing public safety officials to make adjustments to cover more ground.
Recent rainy conditions have also made local roadways all the more dangerous for drivers that are aggressive, fatigued, distracted, or drunk. DPS recommends motorists drive slow, wear a seatbelt, avoid the distractions of technology such as radio or cell phones, and to slow down around police and emergency vehicles with activated emergency lights.
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