HARRISBURG – In an effort to reduce the number of injuries and fatalities resulting from traffic crashes during the Thanksgiving holiday driving period, State Police will mount a statewide “Click It or Ticket” campaign Nov. 19 through Nov. 25, Commissioner Jeffrey B. Miller announced.
“Traffic will be heavy around the holiday and increased traffic usually means more crashes,” Miller said. “We want to encourage all drivers and passengers to buckle up because we know from experience that seat belts save lives.”
During the “Click It or Ticket” campaign, each state police troop will use the State Police PROphecy computer program to identify high-crash areas within its region and then target enforcement efforts to those locations.
As part of the effort, troopers will conduct traffic safety checkpoints to educate the public about traffic laws. Child passenger safety seat checkups will also be held at various locations throughout the commonwealth. The checkups are designed to teach parents the proper installation and use of child safety seats. Similar information is available from local state police stations or by visiting here.
“Studies show that Pennsylvania’s seat belt use rate is now at 86.7 percent,” Miller said. “The rate has been growing in recent years and that’s good news, but we still have too many people who are not properly buckled up while traveling.”
Miller said 11 people were killed and 379 others were injured in the 1,066 crashes to which State Police responded during last year’s five-day Thanksgiving holiday driving period. “Only one of the 11 people killed during the period was wear a seat belt,” he said.
State Police issued 6,490 speeding citations, arrested 369 individuals for driving under the influence, cited 476 people for not wearing seat belts and issued citations to 63 for failing to properly restrain children in child safety seats during last year’s holiday driving period.
On another traffic issue , Miller urged motorists to obey Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law, which took effect in September 2006.
The law requires motorists to move to a lane that is not immediately adjacent to an emergency response area. Such areas include locations where police are making traffic stops, construction crews are working on highways, or tow trucks are responding to disabled vehicles. If drivers cannot move over because of traffic or other conditions, they must proceed at a speed that is “reasonable and prudent,” according to the law.
The law applies any time an emergency vehicle has its lights flashing and where road crews or emergency personnel have lighted flares, posted signs or other traffic control devices. Failure to move over or slow down can result in a summary offense that carries a fine of up to $250. In addition, fines will be doubled for traffic violations occurring in these areas. If that violation leads to a worker being injured, a 90-day license suspension could result.
In cases where law enforcement may not be present, the law allows road workers and emergency responders to report violations by motorists. Law enforcement can issue citations based on these reports.
“This law will prevent injuries and save lives, but only if drivers follow the new rules and use common sense,” Miller said.