Rapid City, SD
Roads across KELOLAND are packed with people traveling for the Thanksgiving holiday. That's prompting the South Dakota Highway Patrol to step up patrols.
"From today [Wednesday] all the way through the weekend there's going to be a high volume of traffic, pretty much more than any other day of the year," South Dakota Highway Patrol Trooper Clay Kartak said.
In what's being called Operation Safe, the South Dakota Highway Patrol has every available trooper on duty to manage the heavy traffic.
"We want to be visible. We want to let people know that we're out there so if any problems happen we're going to be there to take care of it," Kartak said.
Even though the Highway Patrol won't be taking a vacation from writing tickets, it says that's not what Operation Safe is all about.
"We just want people to get to their destination, to wear their seat belts, obey the speed limits, stay in their lanes when they drive and get to their destinations safely," Kartak said.
Troopers will also be on the lookout for people driving under the influence of drugs and alcohol. It's work that the Highway Patrol hopes will pay off with fewer accidents.
"We want to help people get to their destination as safely as possible," Kartak said.
The increased Highway Patrol presence will go from now through Sunday night and there's a good reason for it.
Statistics from the state Department of Public Safety show that in the same period in 2011 there was a total of 215 accidents, injuring 34 people, and causing one fatality.
Troopers made 31 DUI arrests, 33 other alcohol related arrests for offenses like driving with an open container, and issued 435 speeding tickets.