Governor Andrew M. Cuomo has announced that the New York State Police along with local law enforcement agencies are participating in a special Thanksgiving holiday traffic enforcement initiative in an effort to deter unsafe driving behaviors during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

The special traffic enforcement period started Wednesday and continues to run through Sunday.

"Thanksgiving is one of the busiest travel times of the year and our priority is to make sure everyone gets safely to and from their destinations," Governor Cuomo said. "State Troopers and local law enforcement will be out in full force, stepping up their efforts to keep roadways safe for all travelers. I urge motorists to be responsible, obey the rules of the road, and allow plenty of time for travel."

The State Police supplementing regular patrols statewide, including fixed sobriety checkpoints, an underage drinker enforcement and the "Operation Hang Up" initiative, which targets distracted drivers by utilizing Concealed Identity Traffic Enforcement patrol vehicles to better locate drivers talking or texting on hand held devices. These unmarked vehicles blend in with every day traffic but are unmistakable as emergency vehicles once the emergency lighting is activated.

The highest traffic volumes of the year typically occur during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. It is also a time when alcohol consumption is widespread. During the 2016 Thanksgiving holiday period, troopers arrested 245 drivers for DWI, issued 5,417 speeding tickets, 673 tickets for distracted driving, and 265 tickets for the move over law.

Superintendent George P. Beach II said, "As motorists drive throughout the state to see their family and friends this holiday season, we encourage them to make safe driving practices their priority. Follow posted speed limits, make sure all occupants are buckled up, put down your smart phones and other mobile devices and move over and slow down when you see emergency and highway maintenance vehicles on the side of the road. If you're celebrating with alcohol, don't get behind the wheel of a vehicle after drinking. Make arrangements for a safe ride home. Our troopers are committed to ensuring everyone's safety and by motorists making the right choices, together we can prevent needless tragedies on our roadways."

This initiative is funded through the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee.

The GTSC and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles urges drivers to use the Have a Plan app to figure out in advance a safe way to get home. You can call a cab or ride share, review the consequences of impaired driving, or even report a drunk or drugged driver. The app from the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and the NYS STOP-DWI Foundation is free and available for Apple, Android, and Windows smart phones.

Terri Egan, Executive Deputy Commissioner of the State Department of Motor Vehicles said, "We want to make it as easy as possible for people to find a safe way to get home from a night out celebrating with friends. Rather than risk arrest, injury or death, drivers can use the app and enjoy a worry-free night to celebrate with their friends and family."