The holidays are upon us, and many Massachusetts residents will be traveling this week to see family and friends all across New England.
Massachusetts State Police are doing their part to help ensure these visits don't end in tragedy because of impaired or distracted driving.
The Massachusetts State Police joined forces with other New England State Police divisions at headquarters in Framingham to explain their C.A.R.E program.
Increased patrols this week will be cracking down on impaired/drunk driving, texting while driving and seatbelt law violations, among other things.
"We aren't trying to discourage people from going out and enjoying themselves," Massachusetts State Police Col. Timothy P. Alben said. "We just want to make sure they are being safe and responsible."
The C.A.R.E (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) program is a joint venture helping troopers keep an eye on incidents in the area, especially as motorists can easily travel between the small New England states.
"We want to make this a holiday season where no one is seriously injured or killed in a crash. That will truly be something to be thankful for," Alben said.
In New Hampshire, state police this year have already dealt with 94 deaths from motor vehicle crashes. New Hampshire State Police Capt. John LeLacheur said the stepped-up patrols are an effort to keep that number under 100 for the year.
"Last year we had 13 deaths between Thanksgiving and New Year's," LeLaucher said. "In the past, we've noticed mid-week spikes late in December when offices are having Christmas parties, so those times will be enforced more on the roads."
According to LeLaucher, many of the crashes don't happen on the main highways in the state but on the smaller secondary roads.
Capt. Karen Pinch of the Rhode Island State Police said her department will nearly double the patrols during the holiday season. Pinch also said they have stepped up their enforcement and have issued more citations for distracted driving and seatbelt violations than last year.
"Traffic enforcement remains the single most effective tool in detecting and diminishing criminal activity," Vermont State Police Lt. John Flannigan said.