Several law enforcement agencies in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan are increasing patrols - many beginning today - in an effort to reduce accidents during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year, and an increase in vehicles on the road usually results in more accidents, said Sgt. Carlos Smith, Ohio Highway Patrol spokesman.
Last year, 22 people died on Ohio roadways during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, making it the deadliest among other holidays. Alcohol was a factor in 10 of those crashes.
"People do drink and drive during the holiday weekend," Sergeant Smith said. "They don't know their limitations."
Deputies in Lucas, Wood, and Ottawa counties will look for drunk drivers, people who are speeding, and those not wearing seat belts. They also will enforce other traffic laws.
The Toledo post of the Ohio Highway Patrol is increasing the number of troopers on the road beginning the day before Thanksgiving and continuing through Sunday.
Lt. Robin Schmutz said troopers will target I-475 and I-75 and other highly-traveled roads throughout the city.
Toledo police will begin an increased patrol of city roadways today and will focus on identifying and apprehending drunk drivers.
Early next week, Michigan State Police will join other state police and highway patrol agencies across the country and Canada in Operation CARE - Combined Accident Reduction Effort - to decrease accidents and fatalities during the holiday.
Lucas County deputies will begin increased patrol of Airport Highway, U.S. 24, Central Avenue, and State Rt. 295 today through Nov. 25.
The deputies' overtime is paid through a $43,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
In Ottawa County, two overtime shifts will be scheduled beginning tomorrow. The overtime, scheduled through Nov. 25, is paid through a state grant.
In Wood County, deputies will increase their patrol of U.S. 6. The overtime is paid through a state grant.
Perrysburg Township police began their traffic blitz today and will increase patrols on State Rt. 20, State Rt. 25, and State Rt. 795 through Nov. 24.