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Police Launch Effort To Cut New Year's Traffic Deaths

Updated: Monday, December 30 2013, 06:14 AM CST
A tragic car crash during the weekend that killed a Leander ISD teacher and her teenaged son is giving extra urgency as police in Central Texas deal with unsafe driving, including drunk driving.

This week, fifteen area agencies are beefing up patrols ahead of New Years as part of the Arrive Alive initiative.

This week, it's a New Year's resolution to avoid a repeat of last year's New Years holiday: three people dead in 63 crashes, many more seriously hurt. Police made 66 arrests for DWI during New Years Eve and New Years Day.

Starting Tuesday, extra patrols will be keeping an eye out for five types of dangerous driver behaviors: drunk drivers, speeders, tailgaters, unsafe lane changing, and aggressive driving. But law enforcement officials say this isn't about meeting a quota.

"The goal is not writing a ticket, it's voluntary compliance," says Robbie Barrera, a trooper for DPS Highway Patrol. "The last thing any of us want to do, including myself, is knock on someone's door sitting in this room and advising them that's someone's died in a traffic crash."

This is all part of the bigger "Home For The Holidays" initiative expanding this year. It's designed to cut down on the number of traffic deaths and injuries.

Law enforcement has made two similar efforts in the last month or so around Thanksgiving and Christmas. Here are the results so far: Austin Police and around 15 other law enforcement agencies have written more than 28,000 tickets, though more than 21,000 of those were warnings.

They've made more than 7,400 arrests, including more than 1,300 for DWI. And the traffic deaths this year compared to the same time last year? Down from eight to five.
Police Launch Effort To Cut New Year's Traffic Deaths

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