Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally one of the heaviest traveled holidays across the country. Kentucky State Police announced that they will step up patrols as part of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration ‘Click It or Ticket’ Thanksgiving enforcement initiative.

These efforts will target seat belt usage with an added focus on impaired driving and commercial vehicle safety.

“We want all Kentuckians to be safe this Thanksgiving, not only from COVID-19, but on our roads as well,” said Gov. Andy Beshear. “Please limit travel this year in general, but if you are driving, buckle up and watch your speed. I appreciate all of our law enforcement officers who may spend this holiday away from their own families in order to keep other Kentuckians safe.”

KSP Spokesman Sergeant Billy Gregory said the agency will utilize federal overtime funds to increase the number of troopers and officers on roadways. “High visibility enforcement is a universal traffic safety approach designed to deter motorists from unsafe driving behaviors,” Gregory said. “Often times during the holidays, drivers are so focused on getting to their family gatherings that they tend to forget about traffic safety. Seeing our patrol cars out there on the roadways is a great reminder to buckle up and slow down.”

Gregory says Kentuckians should be commended for regularly wearing their seat belts, as the commonwealth currently has an 89.7% usage rate. “While this is positive for our state, we have traditionally seen an increase in impaired driving during holiday festivities. If you plan to serve alcohol at your family gathering this year, we encourage people to plan ahead and arrange for sober rides home.”

The ‘Click It or Ticket’ campaign coincides with Operation C.A.R.E. (Crash Awareness and Reduction Effort), a national enforcement effort, scheduled to take place during the four-day holiday driving season beginning Wednesday at 6 p.m. to Nov. 29 at 11:59 p.m. These joint efforts across the country encourage drivers to buckle up and refrain from impaired driving.

“The best defense against an impaired driver is wearing a seat belt,” added Gregory. “At the end of the day it’s not about writing tickets, it’s about you and your family members arriving home safely.”

According to the Kentucky Traffic Collision Facts Report, the four-day Thanksgiving holiday travel period accounted for 1,253 collisions with five fatal crashes in 2019.