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Police increasing patrols around Thanksgiving holiday

Officers will target impaired driving, reckless driving and people not wearing their seat belts.

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana law enforcement will be out in force around the Thanksgiving holiday. With AAA predicting travel to hit nearly pre-pandemic levels, officers are concerned about a possible increase in impaired driving and people not wearing their seat belts. 

State and local law enforcement agencies will be targeting violators around Thanksgiving and then Christmas and New Year's. It is happening with funding help from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

"Whether you’re driving for 10 minutes or 10 hours, we're asking everyone to plan ahead and make safety their top priority," said Devon McDonald, Indiana Criminal Justice Institute executive director. "Don't be the reason there's an empty seat at your table or someone else’s this Thanksgiving."

Reckless driving incident continue to be higher than pre-pandemic times. As of early October, 683 people had been killed in crashes statewide, which is an 8% increase from the same time in 2019 and on pace with 2020 — one of the deadliest years in the past decade.

More than 40% of people killed in crashes this year were not wearing their seat belts. Seat belt use in Indiana also declined for the first time in five years.