State and area police are gearing up for a holiday week that is expected to see much more travel than last year.
Bristol police say they will be participating in the national Click It or Ticket campaign from Thanksgiving until next Thursday.
“During this time period, officers will be on roving patrols to enforce traffic safety infractions,” Bristol Lt. Geoffrey Lund said.
Police say the fine for not wearing a seatbelt is $92. For those under the age of 18, it jumps to $120.
Connecticut’s new seatbelt law, which took effect in October, requires all passengers to wear a seatbelt, regardless of where they are in the vehicle. Previously, backseat passengers over the age of 16 were not required to wear a seatbelt.
Extra enforcement from state police will begin on Wednesday and run through Sunday. Troopers say they will be focusing on “aggressive drivers, unsafe drivers and drunk drivers.”
“With covid restrictions lifted, many more residents will gather together and travel to various destinations around the state and the country,” state police said in a statement issued this week.
State police plan on supplementing normal patrol personnel with extra troopers, they say.
“As always, we depend on all drivers to remember and obey traffic laws. Please be our extra set of eyes on the highways and call 911 if you spot an emergency,” said Col. Stavros Mellekas, commanding officer of the Connecticut State Police. “During this very busy long holiday weekend, please take the time to arrive at your destination safely. Check traffic and weather reports before you leave home and be patient as the roads will be filled with other drivers.”
According to state police, who noted that many more people stayed home last year for Thanksgiving because of the pandemic, the number of accidents investigated in 2020 dropped to 376, compared to 593 in 2019. DUI arrests fell from 52 to 29 in this same time period, while the number of injuries reported in car accidents also dropped slightly, going from 61 in 2019 to 52 in 2020. However, state police reported that the number of motor vehicle fatalities in the state last year actually rose to seven over the Thanksgiving holiday, up from two in 2019.
Plainville police say they will have roving DUI patrols in the evening hours, from Wednesday through Saturday, as well as additional officers with an extra focus on the evening before Thanksgiving – which has become known as a night when many people go out and drink.
Plainville Lt. Nicholas Mullins noted, “we are staffing the midnight shift on Wednesday into Thursday with a couple extra officers until the bars close.”
Like Bristol police, officers in Berlin and Southington say they will also participate in the Click It or Ticket campaign.
“During this period, Berlin police officers will be conducting occupant safety belt checks at various locations in town,” Berlin Dep. Chief of Police Chris Ciuci said. “Our officers will be enforcing state occupant protection laws and issuing citations to those who are unbuckled. The intent of this enforcement effort is to remind motorists to always use good highway safety sense, especially during this highly traveled holiday season. During this safe driving campaign, motorists are also reminded that state and local police will also be enforcing speed, cell phone, distracted driving, and DUI laws during the entire holiday driving season.”
Justin Muszynski can be reached at 860-973-1809 or firstname.lastname@example.org.