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KTXS goes on ride-along with DPS in DWI crackdown

By Kristen Pope, Reporter, kpope@ktxs.com
Published On: Jul 03 2013 07:07:34 PM CDT
Updated On: Jul 03 2013 07:37:10 PM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

The Department of Public Safety is making an aggressive effort to crack down on driving while impaired which includes alcohol and drugs through the Independence Day weekend. KTXS took a ride along with a DPS trooper Tuesday night to get a first hand look at what troopers look for.

"All drivers need to watch out for the other person," DPS Trooper Sparky Dean said. "If you are the other person don't drive, get a designated driver."

Troopers are cracking down by paying close attention to what "looks suspicious." For instance speeding, unstable driving or in the case of Tuesday night's ride-along, a routine stop that lead the trooper to find not one, but two open alcohol containers which is a Class C misdemeanor.

Both bottles belonged to the passenger, however the driver admitted to having one beer earlier in the day. DPS said, even having just one and getting behind the wheel is unsafe.

"Buzzed driving is drunk driving," Dean said.

The driver was forced to take a series of sobriety tests. The last test required the driver to measure his blood alcohol content. After the tests were complete, DPS determined how intoxicated the driver was and if he can continue on his way.

Luckily for the driver, he passed the tests, but his passenger was cited for the open containers of beer.

DPS said, unfortunately this driver's situation won't be the case for everyone.

"It is a great holiday but unfortunately their is going to be a lot of people that die this holiday and again its a choice," Dean said. "They don't have to do that. Just a little planning a head of time and we can all survive this and have a wonderful time."

Drivers should expect to see increased numbers in DPS troopers on the road until Sunday.

The 2012 fourth of July holiday ended with 133 crashes that resulted in six deaths. DPS also made close to 1300 arrests and handed out 13,700 speeding citations.