Authorities plan extra enforcement over Thanksgiving holiday - KCTV5

Authorities plan extra enforcement over Thanksgiving holiday

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OLATHE, KS (KCTV) -

Authorities are stepping up patrols this week to keep people safe on their holiday travels.

Olathe police say its surprising but Thanksgiving weekend commonly outranks all other holidays for the number of alcohol related crashes and people driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

In an effort to try and keep drunk drivers off the streets, the traffic campaign will run through Friday.  Some officers may go undercover to spot people without seat belts.

"We have a number of different programs in place, including undercover spotter details, that we will be looking for failure to wear a seat belt, but those policies have nothing to do with you if you wear a seat belt. If you wear a seat belt, you have nothing to worry about," Sgt. Dave Haldeman said.

Officers are also focusing on drunk drivers and people who are not wearing their seat belts.

A grant from the Kansas Department of Transportation will pay for overtime traffic enforcement.

"We have had people in costume, which we probably won't do this year. We've had people working areas in construction zones that look like they are part of the construction detail. We've had people in civilian clothes watching for seat belt use and they communicate violations down the road to chase vehicles," Haldeman said.

The reason officers are focusing on DWIs and seat belt violators is because those two factors lead to fatal crashes. People are 12 times more likely to be killed in a crash by not buckling up, Olathe police say.

Each week across Kansas more than 300 drivers are arrested for driving under the influence.

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