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Department of Public Safety: Christmas Holidays
Gordon Wilkison
  • Highlights
    Traffic Statistics, 1962
    Homer Garrison
    Operation Deathwatch
    Kyle Thompson, United Press International
    Garth Jones, Associated Press
  • Transcript
    I'm Homer Garrison, Director of the Texas Department of Public Safety, with some information of vital importance to all Texans about the Christmas - New Year Holiday period.
    I've called a news conference in order to bring out the facts about this tragedy of violent death that always accompanies this otherwise wonderful time of the year.
    To begin with, past experience indicates that in the nine day period from Christmas Eve through New Years Day, 180 persons will meet violent death in our state.
    Of these, it is indicated that 96 will die in traffic. There will be 40 suicides and homocides and there will be 44 deaths from accidents not related to traffic.
    That, briefly, gentlemen, is the outlook.
    I'm Kyle Thompson of the United Press International. Colonel Garrison, you mentioned past experience. What was the story on traffic deaths during the holidays last year? What actually happened and why?
    Well Kyle, last year there were 110 traffic fatalities in a holiday period of 11 days. Studies indicate that speed too fast for conditions was a major factor, followed or accompanied by driving while intoxicated and driving on the wrong side of the road. But if this tragedy could be linked to one single factor, I would say general carelessness coupled with disregard for the law would stand out.
    Colonel, I'm Garth Jones of the Associated Press. I understand that a terrific percentage of fatal accidents might be called do-it yourself accidents. Is that so?
    Yes Garth, it is. During the last holiday season, some 62 percent of the accidents involved only one car. And this is true throughout the year. It would seem to bear out our guess that carelessness and inattentiveness are largely to blame for these terrible traffic tolls. As for this Christmas season, we're going to take these measures:
    The Department of Public Safety will strengthen the Highway Patrol with something like 150 patrolmen from our other uniformed services. We'll be looking to you and all members of the news media to keep the facts of holiday dangers before the public as you've always done. And we'd like to appeal directly to all drivers to examine the record and take the obvious steps to avoid tragedy on the streets and highways of our state.