Holiday travelers beware, extra deputies on patrol to catch those breaking the law

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, turkeys are thawing, grocery stores are getting busy and extra patrols are being deployed to help you reach your holiday destination safely.

Tuesday, Milwaukee County Sheriff David Clarke announced his agency's enforcement plan called Operation Holiday Safe Drive. An extra 112 sheriff's deputies will join travelers on the roads during peak hours Wednesday through Sunday. He said overtime will be needed to successfully complete their mission.

Operation Holiday Safe Drive looks to crack down on drunk and distracted drivers, those who are speeding and not wearing seat belts. Sheriff Clarke also reminded drivers to abide by the \"Move Over Law.\" It requires them to get over one lane if emergency crews are responding to an accident on the side of the highway. If drivers can't move over, they're required to slow down considerably. Since last Thanksgiving, 10 sheriff's squad cars have been hit while deputies helped those on the side of the road.

Sheriff Clarke said those opting for a road trip this holiday weekend is expected to increase by nine percent this year in Wisconsin. With the added congestion and possible winter weather conditions, he advises people to drive defensively.

\"Drive like you've done this before, this is Wisconsin,\" he said. \"We have to rely on them to help us out here. You can have the best laid plans for this sort of thing but if we don't have motorists' cooperation, this plan is very difficult to be successful with.\"

The Wisconsin DOT is also reminding drivers to travel safely. Electronic message boards along state highways indicate that nearly 450 people have died this year in crashes.

Sheriff Clarke said Operation Holiday Safe Drive will be in effect through January 1, 2015 to cover the Christmas and New Year's holidays.

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