DPS Troopers Increase Patrols

This weekend is one of the busiest travel times of the year. AAA reports 2.5 million Texans will hit the highways traveling more than 50 miles. Here in Wichita County there are several highways and I-44 that see a lot of traffic. Those are main areas that Department of Public Safety Troopers are patrolling.

Newschannel 6 rode along with Trooper Todd Lewis for a few hours Sunday and learned it's not just speed violations they're looking for.

During our ride-along we encountered our first violator just after 4 p.m. a car with no front license plate.

"I was going a bit over the speed limit," said Jose Contreras. He was on his way to Amarillo when he was pulled over, but lucky for him he got a break. "I just got a warning and he (Trooper Lewis) was nice enough to explain to me what I needed to do."

Not everyone was fortunate enough to get off with a warning. Trooper Lewis gave the driver of a pickup truck a ticket for not wearing a seat belt.

"A big emphasis this year is with pickups and passengers and drivers not wearing their seat belts."

He says they come across many pickup drivers that don't feel they need to buckle up, but with the tendency to roll over more than cars. It's one of the top violations they were looking for this year.

Last year DPS Troopers arrested 518 drunk drivers and issued more than 6,000 speeding citations and more than 1,500 seat belt and child safety restraint tickets. They also cited 842 drivers for driving without insurance. Additionally, troopers arrested 280 wanted fugitives and 215 suspects with felony warnings. The increased traffic enforcement also resulted in 20 drug cases and 11 stolen vehicles recovered.

Trooper Lewis encourages drivers to move over to another lane if you see a trooper pull over a car. He also asks drivers to pull to the right and come to a stop if you see a law enforcement vehicle coming up behind you. The increased patrols will continue through Monday.

Crystal Hall Newschannel 6.