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Pa. authorities: slow down, buckle up, don’t drink and drive this holiday season

DAUPHIN COUNTY, Pa. -- This holiday season, officials say there will be more drivers on the Pennsylvania Turnpike than ever before.

Pennsylvania State Police are sending a warning to drivers as part of their 'Operation Safe Holiday' enforcement effort.

“We want to remind everyone to buckle up, slow down, and never drive while impaired or distracted," said Major Edward Hoke with Pennsylvania State Police.

That's the same message Pennsylvania State Police send drivers each and every year.

This year, officials say, a record setting, 3.7 million drivers will take the Pennsylvania Turnpike during the Thanksgiving holiday.

At the traffic operations center, aka the 'heartbeat of the turnpike', employees will be busy taking calls and monitoring all the craziness.

“Troopers will be out enforcing traffic laws, to help make sure, traffic flows safely, and people arrive safely at their destinations," added Major Hoke.

This time last year, troopers say alcohol played a role in 85 crashes, and they arrested 629 people for DUIs.

Impaired drivers is what is most concerning to some people.

“Even in just our little neighborhood, the way our house is, we get sharp turn people, people who come into our yard, and you can tell they’ve been drinking too much," said Alan Galloway, of Highspire, Dauphin County.

"They’re just out there partying, and they just don’t think then, just, 'let me get home', and too much in a hurry!” said Mary Swartz, of Elizabethtown, Lancaster County.

Authorities saying enjoy your holiday; just do it the right way.

“If you’re going to drink, please have a plan to get home safely," stated Major Hoke.

Troopers also want to remind people to have their carseats checked by a professional.

Last year, at 51 inspection events, of the 299 car seats inspected, 191 car seats, or 64 percent, were improperly installed.

Here's a link to free car seat checks in every county.

Troopers and other state police members certified as child passenger safety technicians will be available to assist with car seat installation and to answer any questions parents have.

PennDOT will remove lane restrictions and suspend construction projects wherever possible through the holiday period. Motorists can see remaining construction projects at www.511PA.com before they travel.
511PA is free and available 24 hours a day; it provides traffic delay warnings, weather forecasts, traffic speed information and access to more than 860 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.
Additionally, conditions on the current conditions on the Pennsylvania Turnpike can be viewed at www.paturnpike.com.
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