This week, everyone is excited about Thanksgiving. Many of you will be traveling over the holiday to connect with family you haven’t seen in a long time. But this happy anticipation parallels a sad reality: The Thanksgiving holiday is one of the most dangerous times on the road.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation reports that the holiday season, in general, is the most treacherous. The Thanksgiving holiday period, which includes the weekends before and after the holiday as well as the day itself, saw the highest number of crashes and fatalities of any major holiday season last year. A total of 4,328 crashes and 53 fatalities occurred statewide during the Thanksgiving period, while the Christmas and New Year’s travel periods saw a combined 1,640 crashes and 19 fatalities.
PennDOT’s “Operation Safe Holiday” is attempting to reduce crashes and traffic fatalities during the holidays by targeting seat-belt use and stopping impaired driving. The program’s “Click It or Ticket” seat-belt enforcement program started Friday and is in effect through Sunday, Dec. 1. Sobriety checkpoints, roving patrols and regular traffic safety patrols will be conducted on Wednesday, Thanksgiving Eve, and from Dec. 1 through New Year’s Day to crack down on drivers impaired by drugs or alcohol.
You can do your part to protect you and your family from the increased dangers on the road during the holiday season, beginning with Thanksgiving, by using the following tips:
• Don’t overpack your vehicle and make sure luggage racks are secured.
• Keep the kids occupied. Music and DVD players, video games, books and coloring books should always be invited along for the ride. Pack plenty of pillows and blankets for nap time.
• A car emergency kit is a must. Don’t depend solely on roadside assistance, which could take several hours with so many travelers on the road. Have the basics such as jumper cables, foam tire sealant, a jack and a lug wrench.
• Don’t be a distracted driver! Remember that Pennsylvania law prohibits you from texting while driving. Let a passenger do the talking on the cell phone, or wait until you are at a rest stop to use the phone.
• Most importantly, be a safe driver. We can’t stress the importance of wearing your seatbelt, and making sure everyone in your vehicle is wearing one, too. As parents we are aware of the precious lives you are transporting. As lawyers we have too often seen the tragedies that have occurred because someone wasn’t wearing a seatbelt. Observe the speed limit and be well-rested and alert, don’t follow other cars too closely or make frequent stops.
• Never get behind the wheel if you have been drinking alcohol. In addition to the obvious risks for injuring or killing yourself or someone else,there are severe legal consequences for driving under the influence of alcohol. Your best bet is to choose a designated driver who won’t be drinking alcohol, and can transport everyone safely.
The attorneys and staff of Powell Law wish all of you a safe and happy Thanksgiving.
Established in 1906, Powell Law is Northeastern Pennsylvania’s oldest personal injury law firm. Our PA personal injury lawyers have successfully represented thousands of clients in serious personal injury cases, including PA car accidents, tractor-trailer accidents, motorcycle accidents, PA medical malpractice, PA worker’s comp, slip and fall, product-related injuries and Social Security disability claims. Our PA criminal defense attorneys represent defendants in all types of summary, misdemeanor and felony cases ranging from drunk driving cases to major crimes in both state and federal courts. Powell Law has offices in Scranton, Stroudsburg, Taylor and Moscow. Call us toll free at 800-290-7707.