Law Enforcement Warning Drivers Of Patrol Increase For Holiday Travel

Wednesday, November 21st 2018, 6:31 pm
By: Aaron Brilbeck

Experts say the strong economy and lower gas prices mean we will see more Thanksgiving travelers this year than we have seen in the past decade. 

AAA expects 54.3 million people to be traveling this Thanksgiving holiday. That's an increase of five percent over last year. That means a lot of cars on these roadways, and a lot of police keeping an eye on them.

Oklahoma Highway Patrol plans to have troopers stationed every 20 miles along Interstate 40 Wednesday night until 10 p.m., and throughout the day Sunday when people are traveling home.

See Related Story: OHP To Have Troopers Stationed Every 20 Mils Along I-40

"We're looking for speed, DUI's, seatbelts, inattention. So, that can be on your cellphone of just not paying attention in general,” said OHP Trooper Mystal Perkins.

Thanksgiving isn’t just a big eating holiday. It’s also become a big drinking holiday. And with so many options for getting home, OHP says there’s no tolerance for drunk driving.

"No tolerance at all. We do not tolerate drinking and driving. And if you're under the influence, you will go to jail,” said Perkins.

Police will also be looking for drowsy drivers and people distracted by their phones. They say that can be as dangerous as drunk driving.

"It happens all the time. When I see someone weaving in a lane, my first thought is, ‘Are they under the influence or are they on their cellphone?’ And that's how much they look alike on the road,” said Perkins.

"There have been times I thought for sure, due to driving behavior, that person was probably intoxicated. When I get up there, they were messing with their phone, tweeting and posting to social media,” he continued.

For Perkins that’s a sensitive topic. She told News 9 about her partner in the academy.

"Working a crash out east and someone was on their cellphone and drove through the light. And ran him over and killed him. So, I have zero tolerance for that,” said Perkins.