As Central Texas residents prepare for Labor Day weekend — cookouts, vacations and a day off of work — the Texas Department of Transportation and AAA Texas are urging drivers to remember to be responsible.
“Recently released statistics from TxDOT show that both drinking and driving and distracted driving remain big problems in the Lone Star State,” according to a press release issued by AAA Texas. “During a holiday period where 40 people are killed on Texas roads, on average, AAA Texas encourages drivers to make sure they have a plan to get home safely.”
According to TxDOT statistics from 2017, there were 35 fatal crashes resulting in 39 fatalities statewide during the Labor Day holiday period. Those numbers are similar to the prior year with 35 fatal crashes and 41 fatalities in 2016. More than one-third of those deaths were alcohol-related during the Labor Day timeframe for both years. Over the last five years, an average of 40 people have been killed during the Labor Day holiday period, according to statistics published by TxDOT from 2013 to 2017.
The Texas Department of Public Safety has said that officers will be specifically looking for drivers who violate traffic laws, including impaired drivers, speeders and safety belt violators.
“DPS is committed to protecting travelers on our roadways, and troopers will be working around-the-clock this Labor Day weekend to keep impaired and dangerous drivers off the road,” said DPS Director Steven McCraw in a press release. “We are urging all drivers to do their part to keep our roads safe by simply obeying Texas traffic laws and driving courteously.”
DPS has issued multiple tips for people who do plan to hit the road during Labor Day weekend:
Do not drink and drive. Make alternate travel plans if you are consuming alcohol.
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.
Slow down or move over for police, fire, EMS and Texas Department of Transportation vehicles and tow trucks stopped on the side of the road with emergency lights activated — it’s the law. Also, show the same courtesy to fellow drivers stopped along the road.
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.
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 https://drivetexas.org.
Gas prices in the area are higher then they were last year for Labor Day weekend, according to the AAA Texas Weekend Gas Watch. Gas prices this week average $2.60 a gallon in the Killeen-Temple-Fort Hood area. That price is one cent less than this day last week and is 38 cents more per gallon compared to this day last year.
According to Gasbuddy.com on Thursday, the lowest prices for a gallon of regular in area cities were:
Killeen — $2.49
Harker Heights — $2.39
Copperas Cove — $2.49