Law enforcement increase patrols during holidays

Law enforcement is stepping up patrols in the hope of keeping our roads safe this holiday season.

They say impaired or reckless driving can quickly turn celebrations into tragedies.

The holidays are supposed to be merry and bright. Local law enforcement hope to keep it that way.

"We're out there, we're vigilant, we're trying to make our roadways safe. But here's the thing - it's not just the police department, the sheriff's department, or DPS - it's not just our roadways, it's the communities' roadways. So we together have to work together to make our roadways safer for everyone to travel," says Detective Richard Mabe, Austin Police Department, DWI Unit.

The Austin Police Department currently has their no refusal DWI initiative running through January 1st.
If a person refuses to give a breath or blood sample, an officer will apply for a search warrant to obtain blood from the driver.

"I always caution people and they say, 'What's my limit? How many can i have?' .08 is just a number. By legal definition you're intoxicated at or above it, but you can be intoxicated below .08 as well," says Detective Mabe.

That's because alcohol effects everyone differently.

Law enforcement is looking for speeders, seat belt violators and anyone who's a danger on the road.

"That is our ultimate goal, to have zero traffic fatalities, but it is a goal. Every year on the holidays there will be some lives lost," says Staff Sgt. Victor Taylor, Texas Department of Public Safety.

Staff Sgt. Victor Taylor had to respond to a fatality Tuesday morning. DPS says a FedEx van was traveling south on San Jacinto when a Honda Accord going east on 15th Street blew through a red light and was struck. The impact caused a pedestrian to be hit and killed.

"Drivers not paying attention to their driving and surroundings contributed to that crash," says Staff Sgt. Taylor.

DPS will have their initiative on both holiday weekends.

During an 8 day enforcement period last year, DPS troopers made 466 DWI arrests, more than 9,000 speeding citations, nearly 900 seat belt citations, 320 fugitive arrests and 286 felony arrests. APD would like drivers to think twice before getting behind the wheel.

"They'll go out tonight and make anywhere from 15 to 20 arrests, let's say. The hope is that the media doesn't hear about any single one of those. Why? Because they didn't damage property, nobody was seriously injured and nobody died. So we make arrests every day trying to make a difference on our roadways," says Detective Mabe.

DPS will have their initiatives on December 23-26th and December 31st-1st.

APD has No Refusal running through New Year's day.

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