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Thursday, May 21, 2009

PENNDOT, STATE POLICE URGE CAUTION, PATIENCE OVER MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND

Law Enforcement Will Be Conducting Traffic Safety Enforcement throughout Holiday

HARRISBURG – PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E., encourages motorists to drive safely and obey the state’s traffic laws during the Memorial Day weekend.

“With Memorial Day marking the unofficial start of the summer travel season, I am asking everyone to celebrate responsibly and drive safely,” Biehler said. “Remember that traffic may be heavy during the holiday, so please allow extra time to reach your destination.”

According to PennDOT, there were 965 crashes, resulting in nine fatalities, during the 2008 Memorial Day holiday weekend.

“Let’s get the summer driving season off to a good start,” said State Police Commissioner Frank E. Pawlowski. “Make sure everyone in your vehicle is buckled up before you start the engine. Once you’re on the road, drive at a safe speed and don’t tailgate. You need that cushion — that zone of safety — in order to react when traffic slows or stops in front of you.”

State and local police will be conducting various traffic safety enforcement activities, including Click It or Ticket. Any motorist stopped and cited for a traffic violation will receive a second ticket and second fine if they are not wearing a seat belt.

As part of Click It or Ticket, Pennsylvania State Police will be conducting free child safety seat checks to teach parents about the proper installation and use of child safety seats. For a list of the checkup locations, visit www.psp.state.pa.us.

In addition, each of the 15 regional state police troops will conduct a random sobriety checkpoint as part of its Checkpoint Strikeforce Initiative. The checkpoint locations are determined by commanders based on crash data.

Along with buckling up and avoiding impaired driving, PennDOT is reminding drivers to demonstrate caution if they encounter work zones during their trip. While PennDOT is making every effort to remove restrictions on interstates for the holiday, there will be some restrictions for long-term construction projects. To help plan your trip, PennDOT’s Highway Construction Map lists most major projects and is available online at www.dot.state.pa.us.

“For your safety and that of highway workers, slow down if you pass through a work zone and pay full attention to the road at all times,” Biehler said. “It is also important to merge with caution and use your four-way flashers if you are stopped or traveling slowly.”

PennDOT also offers the following tips for safe travel at any time of year:
• Take frequent breaks or rotate drivers during long trips.
• Carry a cell phone and charger in case of emergency.
• Carry extra water and non-perishable food.
• Remember, state law requires headlights to be turned on any time your wipers are in use due to rain or fog.

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