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RALEIGH – As the Christmas and New Year’s Holiday season approaches, the State Highway Patrol is encouraging motorists to keep safety in mind while traveling to their various destinations.  As the number of vehicles increase on the state’s roadways, so does the potential for vehicle collisions.

Troopers will be monitoring driver behavior while focusing on high speed, distracted driving, seatbelt use and driving while impaired violations.   SHP responded to 2,077 crashes from December 24, 2016 through January 2, 2017.  Among those collisions, 735 were injury related and 34 resulted in a fatality.

“During the holidays, we should all focus on family, friends and the spirit of giving”, said Colonel Glenn McNeill Jr., commander of the State Highway Patrol.  “Our wish is to close 2017 with no further traffic related deaths, a goal everyone can assist with.”

Motorists are encouraged to follow these tips while traveling:

*Plan ahead, expect delays in traffic
*Do not drive distracted
*Wear provided seatbelt in both front and rear seats
*Monitor speed limits
*Increase following distances
*Do not drive impairedDesignate a sober driver
*Call a cab or other ride sharing service
*Dial *HP to report reckless motorists
*If involved in a collision resulting in property damage only, safely remove vehicle(s) from roadway

In a further attempt to reach the motoring public, SHP is using social media to highlight safe driving through a PSA posted on the Patrol’s Facebook and Twitter  pages.  Entitled “SHP’s Wishlist for Santa”, Sergeant Mike Baker and Trooper Chris Knox visit Santa to ask for his assistance in keeping the motoring public safe.

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