Thanksgiving Travel Crackdown

JONESBORO, AR  (KAIT)  --  Police agencies across the state want to make sure motorists are safe this Thanksgiving holiday by stepping up traffic law enforcement. According to AAA, 40 million Americans will travel at least 50 miles today, on the way to their Thanksgiving destinations.

In 2006, 457 people died in traffic accidents and thousands of others were injured. Police said nearly half of those fatalities could have been avoided if more people would have used their seat belts.

The same type of crashes are more deadly during the evening hours, when more people feel less inclined to wear safety devices.

"As you can imagine, the more cars we have on the road, the more congestion we have and ultimately, the more accidents we will have," said Sgt. Stephen McDaniel of the Jonesboro Police Department.

McDaniel said motorists who don't use a seat belt run the risk of getting a ticket or worse.

"What we realize is this is a very busy time during the year. There are a lot of traffic on the road, a lot of holiday travelers, and we're just trying to remind everyone to be safe. Buckle up their seat belts. This is a click it or ticket period."

"The Jonesboro Police Department is participating in a step grant, which is a selected traffic enforcement program. It's put on by the state and the highway department," said McDaniel.

The step grant is aimed at helping police protect people by intensifying their focus on traffic laws. For more information on highway safety during the holiday, click here.

AAA estimates 479 people will die in traffic accidents this year. The agency also believes approximately 26,000 people will get injured.

"There are many police agencies across the state that participate in this program, so pretty much whatever city you go to in Arkansas, you're going to be running into intensified traffic enforcement during that period of time," said McDaniel.