Pennsylvania officials are highlighting safety precautions for travel this holiday season

  • Gabriela Martinez

Associated Press

FILE PHOTO: Cars approach a toll booth along the Pennsylvania Turnpike.

As the holiday season approaches, travelers will encounter busier roads than usual.

Pennsylvania State Police, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, and the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission urge travelers to drive safely, without distractions and free from the effects of drugs and alcohol.

PA Turnpike CEO Mark Compton said Thanksgiving will be the busiest travel holiday of the year, with 3.5 million people traveling between November 22 and 27. Compton said “the worst of these days” will be Wednesday, when about 690,000 vehicles will be on the road.

State police will conduct sobriety checkpoints and roving patrols to crack down on drunk or distracted driving starting Wednesday through the Lunar New Year holiday.

According to PennDOT data, during the most recent holiday season — from the Wednesday before Thanksgiving 2021 to Jan. 2, 2022 — there were 1,276 drunk driver accidents that killed 41 people.

We want all travelers to stay safe this holiday season,” Compton said. “Vacation activities can increase our stress and fatigue levels, and this can contribute to distracted driving.”

Employees monitor traffic cameras at the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency’s (PEMA) PennDOT Regional Traffic Management Center in Harrisburg.

The state police are also offering free child safety seat inspections and training through November 27. For more information on how to get an appointment, see National Police website.

“Child seats reduce accidental deaths and injuries, yet police officers last year cited 1,200 drivers for not securing children. This is unacceptable,” said Lt. Col. Jeremy Richard, Deputy Chief of Operations, State Police.

Officials say PennDOT and the Turnpike will lift lane restrictions and suspend construction projects wherever possible, but encourage drivers to visit “Historical holiday traffic” page, construction-related traffic obstructions to be clarified beforehand.