The Wolf administration emphasizes the safety of vacation travel

Motorists are encouraged to “know before you drive” by checking 511PA before vacation trips

With the busy holiday drive season just around the corner, the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission converged on the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) PennDOT Regional Traffic Management Center in Harrisburg to look after the drivers reminding people to fasten their seat belts, drive sober, and eliminate behind-the-wheel distractions as they prepare to hit the road for Thanksgiving.

Regional traffic management centers throughout the Commonwealth serve as hubs where PennDOT traffic control specialists monitor a network of 1,000 traffic cameras to keep roads open and traffic moving.

“We can all do our part to prevent accidents by always wearing a seat belt, designating a sober driver, and never driving while distracted,” said PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian. “We want everyone to arrive safely at their vacation destinations, but when accidents do occur, PennDOT and first responders will work quickly to assist the motorists involved and keep traffic moving.”

Operation Safe Holiday began on November 14 with the Click It or Ticket Thanksgiving enforcement mobilization that lasted through November 27. With the goal of keeping Pennsylvania’s youngest travelers safe on the road, PSP will host child seat fitting clinics at multiple locations across the state.

“Child seats reduce accidental deaths and injuries, yet police officers last year cited 1,200 drivers for not securing children. This is unacceptable,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Richard, Pennsylvania State Police deputy chief of operations. “Parents and caregivers who visit our clinics will learn how to properly install and use car seats, and our trained child occupant safety technicians will inspect your seat for recalls, all at no cost to you.”

Pennsylvania law requires all occupants under the age of 18 to wear seat belts when riding in a vehicle, as well as drivers and passengers. Children under the age of two must be secured in a rear-facing car seat and children under four must be secured in an approved child safety seat. Children must ride in a booster seat up to their eighth birthday.

During Operation Safe Holiday, law enforcement will also conduct sobriety checks, walking patrols and regular road safety patrols to crack down on drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, November 23, through the Lunar New Year holiday.

According to PennDOT data, during the 2021 holiday travel season, which began the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and lasted through Jan. 2, 2022, there were 1,276 accidents involving an impaired driver that killed 41 people.

The Pennsylvania Turnpike expects Thanksgiving to be the busiest travel holiday of the year, with 3.5 million motorists traveling during the six days of Tuesday, November 22 through Sunday, November 27. Tuesday and Wednesday of Thanksgiving week will be the heaviest travel days, so travelers should plan their trips accordingly.

“We want all travelers to stay safe this holiday season,” said PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton. “Holiday activities can increase our stress and fatigue levels, and this can contribute to distracted driving. Other activities that take the driver’s attention off the road, such as B. Talking on the phone or texting, eating, turning your head to talk to passengers, and adjusting vehicle controls are major safety hazards. Avoid doing this while driving. And especially when you’re tired, it’s important that you ask someone else to drive or have a rest before you get behind the wheel.”

The partners encourage motorists to visit the Historic Holiday Traffic page at www.511PA.com, where users can see how traffic speeds on the Wednesday before and Sunday after Thanksgiving in 2019 and 2021 compare to traffic conditions during a typical Non-holidays are compared week. Users can select their region and view an hourly, color-coded plot of traffic speeds to help them determine the best times to travel while on vacation.

While PennDOT and the Turnpike are lifting lane restrictions and suspending construction projects where possible, the Historic Holiday Traffic page also allows the public to view interstate restrictions that will be in effect during the holiday travel season.

The public can check conditions on more than 40,000 road miles in Pennsylvania by visiting www.511PA.com. The free, 24/7 service provides traffic delay alerts, weather forecasts, speed information and access to 1,000+ 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 on the 511PA website.

The holiday seat belts and DUI enforcement are funded through the statewide annual distribution of PennDOT by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. For more information on PennDOT’s highway safety efforts, visit www.PennDOT.pa.gov/safety.

To learn more about PA Turnpike security, visit www.PATurnpike.com/rampup/safety-keys.

For more information about the Pennsylvania State Police, visit psp.pa.gov.

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