Connecticut state trooper explains Memorial Day weekend safety operations

HARTFORD - Connecticut State Police is teaming up with state law enforcement agencies across the country to increase safety and prevent accidents over the Memorial Day weekend.

Although a typical work day for a Connecticut state trooper like Ashley Harkins can be busy, the holidays are usually even more hectic.

“Obviously with the holiday weekend there’s a giant increase in the number of people on the highway,” Harkins said. “With that we already have distracted drivers. People who are driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs.”

That’s why Trooper Harkins, along with other state troopers in Connecticut and across the country, will be stepping up patrols and increasing sobriety checkpoints this weekend.

“We’re always bumping up our enforcement and trying to stop people from doing hazardous and distracting thing,” Harkins said.

That includes driving under the influence.

“They’ll have cookouts and usually most people are having a beer or two when they go to those cookouts. And now they’re going to drive home,” Harkins said.

Troopers won’t only be looking for drivers who are under the influence. They’ll also be on the lookout for distracted drivers as well.

The efforts are part of the national C.A.R.E. program, which stands for Combined Accident Reduction Effort.

It willl last throughout the weekend into Monday when troopers will be focused on enforcing DUI, seat belt and speed limit laws using marked and unmarked police vehicles.

Drivers can stay on the right side of the law buy following a few simple tips state police want to remind everyone of.

Buckle up, obey speed limits, don’t follow cars in front of you too closely, stay off cellphones, and never drink and drive.

If not there’s a very high likelihood you’ll get caught.

“We’re actually able to go out there and enforce it and get them off the roadway.”

During Memorial Day weekend of 2017, state troopers arrested 31 drunk drivers, charged 719 motorists with speeding, 668 with seatbelt violations, and 2658 with Moving Violations. In addition, Troopers investigated 302 motor vehicle crashes, 48 with injury and 2 fatal, resulting in 3 fatalities.