Officials implement Operation Safe Holiday to keep roads safe during holidays

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SCRANTON, LACKAWANNA COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Millions of Americans will be traveling for Thanksgiving, putting more people out on the road on one of the deadliest times of the year for drunk driving fatalities.

Hitting the road this Thanksgiving? The holiday season may be the most wonderful time of the year, but it’s also the most dangerous time of the year to be driving. Especially the Wednesday before Thanksgiving.

“A lot of deaths and injuries and crashes happen on the road the night before Thanksgiving,” said Rebecca Ryback of the Northeast Highway Safety Program.

Officials in Lackawanna County teamed up Tuesday to announce the start of Operation Safe Holiday.

“We know travel is up and as a result, the risk of injury and deaths is greater,” stated Mark Powell, Lackawanna County District Attorney.

The safety program kicks off Wednesday night. Pennsylvania State Police and local police departments will be out in full force. They want to remind you to use your seatbelts and drive safe, but most importantly, don’t drive impaired.

“Buzzed driving is drunk driving and it’s so simple to prevent,” said Powell.

Eyewitness News spoke with Shawn Noonan from the Pennsylvania DUI Association.

“DUI is a crime that’s preventable. If a person has a plan and chooses not to get behind the wheel, they can prevent the crime of DUI from occurring,” explained Noonan.

He says he’s seen too many families who are impacted by drunk driving close to the holidays.

“Keep in mind it also places yourself in danger, the ones who care about you, and potentially cause those families to not have a loved one around during the holiday season,” stated Noonan

If you plan to go out to celebrate the holiday season plan ahead and designate a sober driver. Operation Safe Holiday runs through January 1st.

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