Triple A is predicting that 53.4 million people will travel more than 50 miles for the Thanksgiving holiday. That’s up 13% or 6.4-million from last year when many areas still had limits or at least warnings against large family gatherings.
Travel volumes are now back within 5% of pre-pandemic levels with air travel up 80% to 4.2-million, almost completely recovered from its dramatic fall during the pandemic. The bulk of the travelers, 48.3-million, are going by automobile.
The official holiday weekend begins tonight at 6:00 and runs through 6:00 am Monday. Motorists will see more law enforcement on the roads than normal because the latest edition of the Click It or Ticket seat belt campaign is underway.
The Nebraska Dept of Transportation – Office of Highway Safety is again providing grants to cover the overtime costs of those extra officers.
Grants went to 33 law enforcement agencies – 20 sheriff’s offices, 12 police departments, and the Nebraska State Patrol 0 but the only Panhandle agencies participating are the Scottsbluff Police Department and the Nebraska State Patrol.
State Patrol Supt Colonel John Bolduc says law enforcement is expecting a big increase in vehicles due to the holiday traffic, adding that officers want to make sure this Thanksgiving is remembered for joyous events and not a tragedy on the road.
Colonel Bolduc says “Troopers will be on the road throughout the entire state this weekend, working overtime to assist motorists and maintain safe roadways for everyone on the road.”
Any driver in need of assistance can call *55 or 800-525-5555 to reach the NSP Highway Helpline, 24 hours per day, and Bolduc is encouraging all drivers to “follow traffic safety laws, avoid distractions, and buckle up, every trip and every time.”
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says 279 passenger vehicle occupants were killed in crashes during the 2019 Thanksgiving weekend and more than half were not wearing a seat belt.