LANSING, Mich. -

In an effort to promote traffic safety during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Michigan State Police Metro Post and Second District Special Enforcement Unit will dedicate patrols to traffic enforcement starting at 6 p.m. Wednesday.

During this Thanksgiving weekend, the MSP is reminding motorists to make safety a priority during their holiday travel.

Troopers will focus on traffic safety violations such as speed, impaired driving and safety belts, as well as operating while intoxicated, authorities said.

"By increasing patrols and focusing on traffic safety, we hope to reduce the number of traffic crashes and fatalities during this Thanksgiving holiday weekend," said Lt. Michael Shaw, Second District Public Information Officer.

MSP will be taking part in the nationwide traffic safety initiative called "Operation C.A.R.E." (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), which covers all fifty states and parts of Canada.

"As part of Operation C.A.R.E., troopers will take a zero-tolerance approach to drivers who are operating under the influence or driving in a reckless and unsafe manner," said Col. Kriste Kibbey Etue, director of the MSP. "In addition to looking for impaired drivers, troopers will also pay special attention to unbuckled motorists."

Last year, MSP said nine fatal traffic crashes resulted in nine deaths over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Of those who died, three were not wearing safety belts and alcohol use was a known factor in four of the crashes, according to police.

The official Thanksgiving holiday weekend begins at 6 p.m., Wednesday, Nov. 27 and runs until 11:59 p.m. Sunday, Dec. 1.

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