The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation and police across the state are teaming up for "Operation Safe Holiday" to enforce seat-belt, aggressive driving and impaired driving over the holiday season.
"Thanksgiving holiday is one of the biggest holidays for DUIs we see," Pennsylvania State Police Corporal Mark Cumberland of Warren-based state police said on Monday. "DUIs definitely pick up around Thanksgiving."
State troopers will be assigned over the holiday for selective traffic enforcement program targeting speeding and seat belt use along with roving DUI patrol units over the weekend, he said.
Law enforcement will begin a statewide Click It or Ticket seat-belt enforcement over Thanksgiving and continue to use sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic safety patrols through the end of the year.
"Every year we see an increase in travel during the holiday season and, unfortunately, we also see more crashes," PennDOT Secretary Barry Schoch said in a press release. "If we all take the simple steps to buckle up, take our time and drive safe and sober, the holidays will be safer for everyone on Pennsylvania's roadways."
According to PennDOT, the holiday season is the leading time for traffic crashes. There were 4,235 crashes and 49 fatalities last year during the Thanksgiving travel period, which includes the weekends before and after the holiday.
During the Christmas and New Year travel periods, there were a combined 1,994 crashes and 19 fatalities.
If traveling over the Thanksgiving holiday, PennDOT recommends that motorists make sure they're well-rested and alert before getting behind the wheel.
PennDOT recommends travelers rotate drivers, take frequent breaks, allow extra time for travel and to expect traffic delays. Motorists are also advised to check the weather forecast for their entire route and make sure their vehicle is equipped with a winter emergency kit and tires with good traction.