by Kim Powell
MIDLAND-ODESSA - One way to ruin the holiday weekend is by getting pulled over for drunk driving, or worse, causing an accident. So the Department of Public Safety (DPS) has come up with a few tips to be safe while traveling this weekend.
The summer is winding down and while everyone is getting their last pool party or barbecue in, DPS is out patrolling for drunk drivers.
During the Labor Day weekend last year, DPS troopers made over 1,600 DWI arrests statewide because of an increase in enforcement on the road. Now, local agencies are also out in full force this weekend.
"We are out enforcing. We do have our day and night crew, we are stopping as many cars as we can and we will catch you if you do drink and drive," DPS spokeswoman, Elena Viramontes, said.
So far this year, Midland Police have arrested at least 321 drunk drivers and the Odessa Police Department is also just under 400 arrests for the year.
"It would be a little safer on the roads if there was a little more visibility from the officers around town, the Sheriff's Department, Highway Patrol, any of that stuff," one traveler said.
"It's nice to have patrol out every weekend but I think even more so on the holiday weekends," Doni Wigham, who is also traveling this weekend, said.
However, drunk drivers aren't the only worry this holiday weekend. Last year during the increased enforcement, there were over 24,000 speeding tickets, over 3,500 seat belt citations, and not to mention over 1,200 fugitive arrests and 977 felony arrests during routine patrol stops.
DPS says their best advice for those traveling this holiday weekend, or any weekend, is to not be distracted on your cell phone, buckle up, obey the speed limits and don't drive when you're tired.
"Just drive defensively, make sure that you're getting to your destination safely and make sure your vehicle is well-prepared and equipped and just be safe," Viramontes said.