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Originally published: 2013-12-03 12:55:42
Last modified: 2013-12-03 12:56:27

Thanksgiving patrols net traffic violations

by Staff Reports

The N.C. Highway Patrol and other agencies announced Tuesday that no fatalities occurred along Interstate 40 during the Thanksgiving holiday amid a high-visibility enforcement campaign spanning eight states.

The campaign, called More Cops, More Stops "I-40 Challenge," took place Wednesday, Nov. 27, and Sunday, Dec. 1, considered two of the busiest travel days of the year.

An increased number of troopers assigned to I-40 ticketed or arrested offenders caught speeding, driving while impaired, failing to wear seatbelts or violating other traffic laws. The campaign stretched roughly 2,555 miles across North Carolina, Tennessee, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California.

The agencies investigated 40 vehicle crashes, including nine that were alcohol-related and one that involved a commercial vehicle.

Troopers wrote 1,285 citations, including 24 for driving while impaired and seven involving commercial vehicles. They also tallied 180 seatbelt violations.

While I-40 was spared from fatal crashes, the Highway Patrol also announced a preliminary tally of 10 deaths on other North Carolina highways during the Thanksgiving holiday, which ran from 6 p.m. Wednesday to midnight Sunday.

The collisions occurred near Wilkesboro, Holden Beach, Salemburg, Cherryville, Belmont, Dallas, Beaufort, Franklin, Mount Olive and Lumberton.

"Unfortunately, the hustle and bustle of the holidays can bring out the worst behavior in drivers. It's a real tragedy when a family's Thanksgiving travel ends in a preventable disaster," said Col. Bill Grey, commander of the N.C. State Highway Patrol. "That's why we were out there on I-40 -- to show the public that there are serious consequences for violating traffic safety laws. Those laws are in place to save lives."