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Officers begin holiday enforcement campaign

Officers begin holiday enforcement campaign

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SCOTTSBLUFF — The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is teaming up with Scottsbluff Police Department and others throughout the Panhandle to make sure you make it to the table this Thanksgiving.

Because the Thanksgiving holiday is one of the busiest for America, more drivers will be on the roads than usual, increasing the likelihood of a motor vehicle crash. During this kickoff to the holiday season, it’s more important than ever to stress the importance of seat belt safety with this essential reminder: Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time.

During the Thanksgiving holiday weekend in 2019 (6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 27, to 5:59 a.m. on Monday, Dec. 2), there were 279 passenger vehicle occupants killed in traffic crashes across the nation. More than half (54%) were unrestrained. Nighttime proved even more deadly, with 52% of Thanksgiving weekend crashes occurring at night. These deaths represent needless tragedies for families across America and may have been prevented with the simple click of a seat belt.

“Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating gratitude with loved ones, and we want to make sure our community members arrive at their Thanksgiving destinations as safely as possible,” Sgt. Philip Eckerberg said in a press release. “Whether you’re driving 10 minutes to the Thanksgiving dinner table, or 10 hours, it’s critical that drivers and passengers Buckle Up. Every Trip. Every Time. We want everyone to have a safe and happy Thanksgiving, so please, make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled before you ever turn on the car — and that includes children being in the correct car seats, too.”

Eckerberg said, “The Scottsbluff Police Department has received a grant from the Nebraska Office of Highway Safety to have officers on overtime looking for traffic violations and specifically seat belt and child safety seat violations. The grant is good for the week of the Thanksgiving holiday Nov. 24 to Nov. 28.”

As travel ramps up over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, Nebraska State Patrol troopers will also be on patrol, working to keep Nebraska roads safe.

“We are expecting a big increase in roadway travel for Thanksgiving, as many people are hitting the road to visit family and friends,” Colonel John Bolduc, Superintendent of the Nebraska State Patrol, said in a press release. “As families gather across our state, let’s all work together to make sure this Thanksgiving is remembered for those joyous events, rather than a tragedy on the road.”

AAA announced earlier this month that it is projecting the largest single-year increase in Thanksgiving travel since 2005. The vast majority of those travelers will be using the road to reach their destination.

The Nebraska State Patrol and numerous other law enforcement agencies throughout Nebraska are participating in the annual “Click it or Ticket” campaign. The campaign runs from Wednesday, Nov. 24 through Sunday, Nov. 28. This effort is made possible thanks in part to a grant for $25,500 from the Nebraska Department of Transportation – Highway Safety Office.

“Troopers will be on the road throughout the entire state this weekend, working overtime to assist motorists and maintain safe roadways for everyone on the road,” Bolduc said. “We encourage all drivers to follow traffic safety laws, avoid distractions, and buckle up, every trip and every time.”

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 279 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes around the country during the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend. More than half were not wearing a seat belt. For more information about traveling safely this Thanksgiving, please visit www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/seat-belts.

Any motorist in need of assistance can call *55 or 800-525-5555 to reach the NSP Highway Helpline, 24 hours per day.

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