Troopers, Local Police Begin Holiday Enforcement Campaigns

KING OF PRUSSIA PA – Thanksgiving holiday law enforcement got under way Monday (Nov. 16, 2020) in western Montgomery County and across Pennsylvania, as state troopers and local police department officers combine efforts “to ensure drivers and front-seat passengers are buckled up, and children are secured in properly installed child safety seats,” the state Transportation Department reported.

Pennsylvania’s annual Operation Safe Holiday campaign and its “Click It or Ticket” emphasis on seat-belt use will continue through Nov. 29 (Sunday), PennDOT added.

The state will follow up with a holiday impaired-driving campaign that begins Nov. 25, the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, and runs through New Year’s Day. Troopers and officers will conduct impaired driving enforcement details “with zero tolerance” toward substance-impaired drivers, the agency said.

Holiday seat belt and impaired driving enforcements are paid for with PennDOT’s statewide annual distribution from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

‘Click It or Ticket’ persists

In Pennsylvania, children younger than age 4 must be properly restrained in an approved child safety seat. Children younger than age 2 must be secured in a rear-facing car seat until the child outgrows the maximum weight and height limits designated by the manufacturer. Booster seats are required for children ages four to eight to keep them protected in the event of a crash.

Even under the best of pandemic-related circumstances, PennDOT Secretary Yassmin Gramian suggested, “travel is not recommended in order to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.” The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has repeated that staying home is the best way to ensure safety for yourself and others from the coronavirus.

But Gramian acknowledges some families are bound to hit the road for a holiday meal with relatives and friends. Although many things about this holiday weekend “are different,” she noted, “no matter how far or near you travel, traffic safety is always important.”

Zero tolerance for impaired drivers

According to PennDOT data, there were 1,175 crashes resulting in 31 deaths during the holiday period in 2019.

“DUI is a serious crime that puts Pennsylvanians at risk every day, but it is also 100-percent preventable,” Major Bruce Williams, director of the Pennsylvania State Police Bureau of Patrol, said. Troopers and their “local law enforcement partners have zero tolerance toward driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol.”

“We can all do our part to prevent crashes and fatalities by designating a sober driver and always wearing a seat belt,” Gramian agreed.

A reminder to ‘move over’

Drivers are also reminded to obey Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law, which requires drivers to move over or slow down when they encounter an emergency scene, traffic stop, or disabled vehicle. The goal of the Move Over Law is to protect law enforcement, emergency medical providers, and other first responders when responding to crashes.

“It takes a team effort to keep traffic flowing safely,” Williams recognized. “First responders – including police, emergency medical technicians, road crews, and tow truck drivers – are at risk when responding to crash scenes. We can all do our part to keep them safe by obeying the Move Over Law and giving them space to work.”

Photo by QuoteInspector via Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license