PennDOT and police statewide are joining forces for "Operation Safe Holiday," an initiative including seat-belt, aggressive-driving and impaired-driving enforcement aimed at keeping roadways safe this holiday season.
PennDOT spokesman Steve Cowan said these laws can be more difficult to enforce during the holiday season.
“Well one of the problems that we have during the holiday season is more and more people are traveling this time of the year. When you have that many people traveling, there are individuals who do things that they shouldn’t be doing – like driving while impaired or not buckling up.”
In addition to the ongoing Click It or Ticket seat-belt enforcement initiative, police will also employ sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic patrols to crack down on speeding, aggressive or impaired drivers.
PennDOT reports 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 period, there were a combined 1,994 crashes and 19 fatalities.
Cowan said there is no particular target area, within the three counties of PennDOT District 11 (Allegheny, Beaver, & Lawrence).
“Doesn’t matter whether it’s an urban, suburban, or rural area, these problems do exist everywhere; and that’s why PennDOT and police statewide are teaming up to combat aggressive driving, impaired driving, and unbelted crashes.”
PennDOT suggests that motorists should allow extra time for travel and expect to encounter traffic delays. As weather and road conditions can worsen quickly at this time of year, motorists should always check the forecast for their entire route and make sure their vehicle is equipped with a winter emergency kit and tires with good traction.