MIDDLETOWN, Pa. (WHTM) — The Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission (PTC), Pennsylvania State Police (PSP), and PennDOT came together outside the PTC’s headquarters in Harrisburg to remind drivers of the importance of safe driving, consistent seat belt use, and by checking 511PA for up-to-date traffic information.
The PTC expects Thanksgiving to be the busiest travel holiday of the year with 3.15 million motorists during a six-day period between Tuesday and Sunday. Thanksgiving day, however, will be the slowest day for traffic during this holiday travel period.
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“With traffic returning to heavier volumes and travelers happily focused on holiday visiting, it’s critical to keep safety top of mind while driving to your destination,” PA Turnpike Chief Operating Officer Craig Shuey said. “In addition to these significantly higher traffic volumes, motorists are decidedly more distracted as they return to the roadway and will need to be more vigilant for traffic incidents. Be prepared for volume-related slowdowns, disabled vehicles, and other roadway obstructions. Also, please remember to slow down and move over for vehicles on the shoulder such as law enforcement, turnpike first responders, and fire and EMS personnel. Give yourself plenty of extra time to arrive at your destination. Be patient and share the road with all who are traveling this holiday weekend”.
Operation Safe Holiday kicked off on Nov. 15. During this time, the PSP will offer no-cost child passenger safety seat clinics at several locations statewide, with the goal of keeping Pennsylvania’s youngest travelers safe on the road.
“This no-cost resource is designed to protect our youngest passengers during a busy time of the year for travel,” Deputy Commissioner of the Pennsylvania State Police Lieutenant Colonel Scott Price said. “Troopers are trained to look for a variety of traffic violations and will remain cognizant during the holiday periods. Travelers can do their part by remembering to slow down, move over, never drive impaired or distracted, and always buckle up.”
According to PennDOT data, during the 2020 holiday travel period beginning the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and running through January 2, 2021, there were 1,000 impaired driving crashes, resulting in 26 deaths throughout the commonwealth.
“Working together, we can all do our part to prevent crashes and fatalities on Pennsylvania roadways,” PennDOT Acting Executive Deputy Secretary Melissa Batula said. “We want everyone to arrive safely this holiday travel season, so please designate a sober driver and always wear your seat belt.
Pennsylvania’s Move Over Law requires drivers to move over or slow down for all responders, including police, fire, and ambulance crews, as well as stopped tow trucks and maintenance vehicles. PennDOT, as well as the PA Turnpike, will remove all construction and lane restrictions where ever possible. On the PA Turnpike, additional maintenance and safety personnel will be patrolling during the holiday weekend.
The public can check conditions on more than 40,000 roadway miles in Pennsylvania 24 hours a day by visiting www.511PA.com.