2008-11-27 / Sports

"Operation Safe Holiday" Kicks Off In Time For Holiday Travel

Department partners with state, local police to enforce safe driving

With millions of motorists planning to travel for Thanksgiving, Penn- DOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E., announced recently that the department will launch Operation Safe Holiday to improve highway safety.

PennDOT will work with state and local police to increase traffic safety enforcement. While police will crack down on all traffic violations, increased focus will be placed on unbuckled, impaired and aggressive drivers throughout the holiday season.

"I am calling on each and every motorist on our highways to drive safely this holiday season," Biehler said."Although we can all be distracted by the hustle and bustle of the season, please remember these important driving tips: buckle up, slow down and never drive impaired."

As part of Operation Safe Holiday, police will use checkpoints and roving patrols in addition to regular traffic safety patrols. Departments may also introduce BOLT operations, which is when a safety checkpoint later turns into a sobriety checkpoint at the same location.

According to PennDOT, there were 4,925 crashes resulting in 46 fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday period last year. The official driving period includes the weekends before and after the holiday.

To improve their safety on the highway, PennDOT encourages motorists to make sure they are wellrested and alert. During long trips, it is a good idea to rotate drives and take frequent breaks. Motorists should also give their full attention to the road and avoid distractions, such as cellphones.

Along with practicing these safe driving behaviors, PennDOT reminds motorists that weather and road conditions can change rapidly this time of year and motorists need to be alert. As a precaution, motorists should check the forecast before traveling and make sure their vehicles are equipped with a winter emergency kit. Enhanced information on road conditions and links to weather forecasts can be found at www.dot.state.pa.us under "Travel Information."

Finally, PennDOT encourages motorists to use caution in work zones. While the department does not anticipate major delays due to construction, motorists may encounter minor delays for maintenance activities. The added traffic volumes may also cause delays along heavily-traveled routes.

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