The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will again participate in a nationwide traffic enforcement campaign titled "Operation C.A.R.E.," Combined Accident Reduction Effort. Troopers and State Police throughout the United States will concentrate their enforcement activities toward alcohol-related offenses, speed violations, seatbelt and child restraint usage. The program first began in 1977, when Michigan State Police and Indiana State Police began strict enforcement activity and unified the efforts of both states. Today Operation C.A.R.E. encompasses all 50 states and Canada.
This year, Oklahoma will play a significant role in "C.A.R.E. Across America." On November 21, there will be at least one State Trooper every 10 miles on Interstate 40 from coast to coast. "This campaign is intended to promote high visibility of law enforcement officers across the United States, with a "no tolerance" policy for any type of violation," said Colonel Van M. Guillotte, Chief of the Oklahoma Highway Patrol.
Oklahoma Highway Patrol has participated in Operation C.A.R.E. for more than 20 years and has been recognized for its efforts in the production of public service announcements.
"The Thanksgiving holiday period is the most heavily traveled holiday in the United States. Even with fuel prices up, Oklahoma expects to see its share of travelers throughout the Crossroads of America,” said Guillotte.
In 2006, there were 4 crashes resulting in 5 fatalities during the Thanksgiving holiday period. Four of the five people killed were not wearing a seat belt. In 2005, there were 11 people killed in 10 crashes. Five of those people were not wearing a seat belt.
The Oklahoma Highway Patrol does not issue warnings for seat belt or child restraint violations. Effective July 1, 2007, the minimum fine for a child restraint violation increased to $229.50. "It's a proven fact that seat belt usage saves lives," said Guillotte.