NEGAUNEE TOWNSHIP — For almost forty years, the Michigan State Police has participated in a safe driving initiative to help prevent traffic crashes and fatalities on Thanksgiving weekend.

The initiative is called Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort), and state and highway patrol agencies from all 50 states participate. The program involves placing extra troopers on patrol to conduct high-visibility enforcement along trunk line roadways, keeping an eye out for impaired driving, seat belt use, careless driving, and speeding. This year, the program is getting funded in a new way.

“The troopers that are working on Operation C.A.R.E. are going to be funded through grant monies provided by the [Michigan] Office of Highway Safety and Planning,” Sgt. Kevin Dowling of the Negaunee Post said. “So what we do is, we take that money and put those troopers out there on these directed patrol efforts. They’re strictly out there to do traffic enforcement on trunk lines, so they’re going to stay out there on the highway and not get taken off and directed to another criminal complaint investigation.”

In addition to having a designated driver, wearing safety belts, and being aware of road conditions, drivers are reminded to maintain their focus during their holiday trips.

“When you’re out driving to the Thanksgiving dinner or the friend’s house for the get-together or the shopping trip, make sure you’re focused on driving, not what you’re thinking about after you get there. You’ve got to get there first, so focus your attention to driving,” Sgt. Dowling added.

Operation C.A.R.E. will begin tomorrow and continue through Sunday.