PennDOT, State Police Focus on Seat Belt Use, Impaired Driving During ‘Operation Safe Holiday’

HARRISBURG, Pa. (EYT) – Keeping the upcoming holiday season free of tragic vehicle crashes is the aim of “Operation Safe Holiday,” a joint campaign by Pennsylvania State Police, PennDOT, and local law enforcement.

The holiday enforcement will focus on nighttime seat belt use and impaired driving.

The operation begins with statewide Click It or Ticket seat-belt enforcement that runs from Nov. 21 to Dec. 1.

Law enforcement agencies also will conduct sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic safety patrols on Thanksgiving Eve, Nov. 26, and from Dec. 1 through the New Year’s holiday to crack down on drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol.

“Thanksgiving remains one of the biggest travel periods of the year, but unfortunately it’s also the highest in the number of crashes,” PennDOT Secretary Barry J. Schoch said.” “PennDOT urges drivers to drive safely and assign a designated driver when attending functions with family and friends this season.”

According to PennDOT data, the holiday season continues to be the leading time period for traffic crashes. The Thanksgiving holiday period, including the weekends before and after the holiday as well as the day itself, experienced the highest number of crashes and fatalities of any major holiday season last year. A total of 4,683 crashes and 48 fatalities occurred statewide during the Thanksgiving travel period. The Christmas and New Year’s travel periods, including the weekend before Christmas, Christmas, New Years and the weekend after, saw 3,222 crashes and 30 fatalities.

“Vehicle crashes are one of the leading causes of death, with most fatalities being attributed to unbelted motorists,” said State Police Commissioner Frank Noonan. “The holidays are a time to spend with friends and family, but please don’t drive impaired and be sure to buckle up.”

Additionally, during the Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year’s holidays last year, 1,072 of the statewide crashes involved a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, with 35 fatalities in those crashes. In that same period, there were 989 crashes with unbuckled occupants, with 43 fatalities in those crashes.

PennDOT urges travelers to never drive impaired and always buckle up.

Drivers should also avoid distractions, rotate drivers if possible and take frequent breaks.

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.

Motorists can check conditions on major roadways by visiting 511PA, which is free and available 24 hours a day, provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 700 traffic cameras. 511PA is also available through a smartphone application for iPhone and Android devices, by calling 5-1-1, or by following regional Twitter alerts accessible on the 511PA website.

You can find PennDOT on Twitter at and Facebook at

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