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WILLISTON, Vt. – The Vermont State Police (VSP) is planning extra traffic patrol this upcoming Thanksgiving weekend as a part of a national initiative to reduce traffic fatalities on the holiday weekend, VSP said in a statement Monday.

According to a VSP statement, police plan to increase patrols from Wednesday to Sunday this week as a part of Operation C.A.R.E., a national campaign where police agencies increase activity to reduce fatalities on highways.

Per their statement, VSP is looking in particular for drivers under the influence of alcohol in particular, writing, “the Vermont State Police will have zero tolerance for people who make the reckless decision to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

The statement also advises drivers to keep their windshields free of obstruction and their cars altogether free of snow and ice.

“Failing to do so can cause hazardous conditions on the road,” VSP said. “The little time it takes to clear snow from a vehicle could save a life.”

“Traffic enforcement is a critical mission to the Vermont State Police and remains one of the most effective tools in keeping our roads safe, but we cannot do it alone,” said Lt. Tara Thomas, the VSP’s Commander of Safety Programs. “Seat belts and designated drivers save lives.

“Please buckle up and don’t drive impaired this Thanksgiving holiday.”

According to VSP, there have been 41 fatalities related to traffic accidents this year.

More than half of those who died were not properly wearing a seatbelt, according to VSP, and around 42 percent of those fatalities involved impaired drivers.

Operation C.A.R.E., started by state police agencies in the Midwest during the 1970s, is one of the nation’s longest running highway safety initiatives.

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