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Keep Yourself and Emergency Responders Safe This Holiday Travel Season

By: Colonel Tyree C. Blocker, Pennsylvania State Police Commissioner

November 23, 2016

The holiday travel season is here, and thousands of people across Pennsylvania are preparing to pack up the car and hit the road to visit family and friends.

As you travel to enjoy time with loved ones, plan a safe ride after a night of holiday festivities, make your family’s safety your top priority, and keep in mind the men and women who work every day – sacrificing time with their own families – to keep the roads safe.

Before you go out, plan ahead to get home safely.

Please do not put yourself, your family, or first responders at risk by making the decision to drink and drive. According to PennDOT, more than 1,200 crashes statewide during the 2015 holiday season involved a driver impaired by drugs or alcohol, with 38 fatalities in those crashes.

The SaferRide mobile app, developed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, is a free tool to facilitate a safe ride home after a night of holiday festivities. Its simple interface allows users to quickly identify their location and call a taxi or friend to pick them up. Other options include private ride hailing apps such as Uber and Lyft, where available. Whichever method you choose, there is no reason to drive impaired.

Make your family’s safety your top priority.

Remember to wear your seat belt and use appropriate child safety seats every time you drive. In Pennsylvania, children under the age of four must ride in an approved child safety seat and:

  • Children younger than two years old must be secured in a rear-facing car seat.
  • Children from age four to age eight must use an appropriate booster seat.
  • Children from age eight to 18 must wear a seat belt when riding anywhere in a vehicle.
  • All drivers and front-seat passengers 18 years old and older are required to buckle up.

If you have questions about installing a car seat, or just want a certified Child Passenger Safety Technician to check your work, your local Pennsylvania State Police barracks can help. Visit our website for a list of child seat workshops or to schedule a one-on-one appointment.

Keep in mind the men and women who keep our roads safe.

Unfortunately, traffic accidents will happen. When they do, we rely on several skilled and dedicated emergency responders – including police, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, road crews, and tow truck drivers – to help those involved in the crash and keep traffic moving for other travelers.

Pennsylvania’s “Steer Clear” law requires us to move over or slow down when we see emergency personnel on the side of the road. Please do your part to make sure these men and women are safe on the job and return home at the end of their shifts to enjoy the holidays with their families.

On behalf of everyone at the Pennsylvania State Police, I wish you a happy, safe, and joyous holiday season.

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