AUSTIN (KXAN) - The Austin Police Department will be looking for dangerous driving behavior, speeders, drunk drivers and those not wearing seat belts among the holiday travelers.
Traffic cameras around the Austin area (which update every five minutes):
- Southwest traffic camera at U.S. 183 near southbound South Loop 1
- South traffic camera at U.S. 183 near Ohlen Road
- Southbound I-35 near Sixth Street
- U.S. 290 near Banister Lane
- South Loop 1 near Tuscan Terrace
Get the latest traffic information on our Traffic page , where you can also check the "camera" box that will provide you with more traffic cameras around town.
With 94 percent of the people traveling this week hitting their destinations by car -- according to AAA -- police want to help you get home safely this holiday.
It's all the more reason police has said their Home for the Holidays traffic safety initiative has worked since it began in 2007. Traffic fatalities are down, from 73 in 2004 to 60 in 2007 and 43 this year to date.
"A ticket is not about revenue generation," said APD Chief Art Acevedo. "A ticket is about changing behavior, and we have done that. The numbers speak for themselves. We really believe as a result of our efforts, people are walking and talking."
The police program puts more patrol officers on Austin roadways during the holiday season in an effort to decrease the number of crashes and injuries.
Expect to see hundreds of officers in patrol cars or on motorcycles from now through Jan. 1 of next year, specifically looking for drivers who are:
- making unsafe lane changes
- following too closely to the car in front
- failing to signal a lane change
- driving on imprpoved shoulder
- crossing physical barrier or grassy median
- driving too slow in center or left traffic lanes
- failing to use safety restraints
Last year's Home for the Holidays enforcement period included:
- More than 933 tidckets written for hazardous driving, including speeding, running a red light and aggressive driving.
- More than 1,036 tickets written for nonhazardous violations such as failure to provide driver's license, no insurance or expired inspection sticker.
- More than 2,741 warning were written for various traffic offenses.
- 196 arrests made, including 28 for felony offenses, 165 for misdemeanor offenses and three driving while intoxicated.
Meanwhile, the Texas Department of Transportation said there are some simple travel tips to make sure you arrive to your destination safely.
"The roads will be crowded with holiday travelers, particularly the day before and the Sunday following Thanksgiving," said TxDOT spokesman John Hurt. "Be cautious and plan ahead. We want each and every citizen to arrive his or her destination safely."
Here are some tips to consider before heading out:
- Be patient, allow enough time to reach your destination, and obey all traffic laws.
- Roads will be crowded, and this could lead to some aggressive driving on the part of other motorists. Be courteous in these situations and avoid bad driving actions that may make the situation worse (e.g. road rage).
- Monitor the weather. If it is going to be bad, particularly ice or snow events, consider staying home. Alternatively, rearrange your travel plans to avoid bad weather situations.
TxDOT officials said that in 2009, there were 1,048 serious injuries and 39 deaths from traffic crashes that occurred during the Thanksgiving holiday reporting period.
Late Saturday night into early Sunday morning, a light band of freezing drizzle traversed the I-35 corridor eastward. With sub-freezing temperatures, even the light precipitation created major problems.
A 10-year-old was killed while standing outside a vehicle after the child's family was involved in a fender bender, DPS said.
Austin Police confirm they have located an 82-year-old women who went missing last night.
APD is responding to a 25 vehicle accident near the 5400 block of Ed Bluestein near Thurgood Ave.
A man is dead after being hit by several vehicles in the eastbound lane of Highway 71 Saturday night.
A representative at the Fayette County Sheriff's office said that Fayette County is effectively shut down due to icy conditions.