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Thursday, November 27, 2014

The New York State Police are holding a Thanksgiving traffic safety initiative in an effort to prevent highway tragedies during this holiday weekend. The special traffic enforcement efforts started Wednesday and runs through Sunday.

The State Police, under the direction of Superintendent Joseph A. D’Amico, will supplement regular patrols statewide focusing on speed enforcement, impaired driving, underage drinking, and distracted driving.

The effort will also incorporate fixed sobriety checkpoints, an underage drinker initiative and the "Operation Hang Up" initiative, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement (CITE) patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on  hand held devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

The highest traffic volumes of the year typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2013 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 181 drivers for DWI, issued 4,459 speeding tickets and 854 tickets for distracted driving.

State Police are reminding all motorists to avoid being victims of highway emergencies by making a commitment to not text or talk on mobile phones while driving, to drive the speed limit, and to buckle up all occupants. Major Michael Cerretto, Troop A Troop Commander added “ Western New Yorkers have had a difficult week leading up to this Thanksgiving holiday, it is my hope that we all drive smart, drive safe and have a Happy Thanksgiving Holiday weekend.”

Motorists are also reminded to not drink and drive, call a sober driver before getting behind the wheel. Travel preparation should include plenty of rest before departing, a check of your vehicles tires and fuel level, and anticipating busy roads and highways.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2012 there were 301 people killed in traffic crashes across the nation.

The New York State Police and NHTSA recommend these simple tips to prevent drunk driving:

  • Plan a safe way home before the fun begins;
  • Before drinking, designate a sober driver;
  • If you’re impaired, use a taxi, call a sober friend or family member, or use public transportation;
  • Use your community’s sober ride program;
  • If you happen to see a drunk driver on the road, don’t hesitate to contact local law enforcement;
  • If you know someone who is about to drive or ride while impaired, take their keys and help them make other arrangements to get to where they are going safely.

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