MARQUETTE - Beginning on a night traditionally known as the biggest "bar night" of the year, Michigan State Police troopers will patrol the roads as part of the nationwide Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort traffic safety initiative.
"Throughout the weekend, troopers will be watching for unsafe driving behaviors with a special emphasis on motorists driving under the influence," said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. "Our goal is to reduce traffic crashes and fatalities on Michigan's roadways during the Thanksgiving travel period."
The official Thanksgiving travel period begins at 6 p.m. today and runs through midnight on Sunday.
Starting tonight, Michigan State Police troopers will be patrolling the roads as part of the nationwide Operation C.A.R.E. — Combined Accident Reduction Effort — traffic safety initiative for the duration of the Thanksgiving travel period.
Last year, seven fatal traffic crashes resulted in seven deaths during the Thanksgiving holiday period, according to the state police.
Operation C.A.R.E. began in 1977, as a collaborative effort between the MSP and Indiana State Police, and is one of the nation's longest-running traffic safety initiatives.
Michigan authorities say nearly 100 agencies in 20 counties - including Marquette - will be conducting extra patrols targeting drunken drivers Wednesday through Sunday around the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning is coordinating the effort, which is supported by federal traffic safety funds.
Agencies in Berrien, Calhoun, Chippewa, Delta, Genesee, Houghton, Ingham, Jackson, Kent, Macomb, Marquette, Monroe, Oakland, Ogemaw, Ottawa, Saginaw, St. Clair, Van Buren, Washtenaw and Wayne counties are participating in the effort.
This week's enforcement effort is one of several sets of increased drunken driving patrols this year around holidays.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.