According to AAA, 4.5 million Americans will fly to their Thanksgiving destinations this year. Officials with the Transportation Security Administration at Indianapolis International Airport wants travelers to be prepared for long lines.
While many travelers are in vacation mode and not concerned over flight delays, it's crunch time for TSA employees. They are expecting around 16,500 passengers to pass through their checkpoints on the busiest travel day, the Sunday after Thanksgiving.
TSA has seen about 91% of passenger traffic return since the pandemic. It tries to get travelers through security in 20 minutes or less. But like many industries, the TSA is short-staffed. They currently have 20 open positions at the Indianapolis airport. But, TSA officials say it won't hinder wait times.
Meanwhile, Troopers with the Indiana State Police are ready to ramp up patrols to keep the roads safe for Thanksgiving. Especially from drunk drivers.
ISP says on average, approximately 25% of the Indiana’s traffic fatalities are caused by drunk drivers.
“We’re not telling people they can’t drink. We are simply asking people to be responsible and to not drink and drive,” said Lt. Corey Culler, District Commander for the Fort Wayne Post. “The holidays shouldn’t be marked by tragedy, so don’t ruin your life or the life of someone else by getting behind the wheel impaired. You will be held accountable if you do.”
Troopers begin Safe Family Travel in the days leading up to Thanksgiving each year and run through New Year’s Day.
With officers on high-alert, drivers are encouraged to plan ahead to get home safely. Even if one drink is consumed, never drive impaired or let friends get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking.
Authorities say it’s also important to wear a seat belt, and put away the distractions.
“We’re anticipating a very busy travel season this year, so for those sharing the road, remember to slow down, drive sober and buckle up,” said Devon McDonald, ICJI Executive Director. “Most fatal crashes are avoidable, not inevitable. We want everyone to make it to the Thanksgiving table safely.”
The extra enforcement is funded with grants from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) through the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute (ICJI).
Drivers are are encouraged to call 911, if they encounter an impaired or unsafe driver on the roadway this holiday season.
WRTV Reporters Amber Grigley and Meredith Hackler contributed to this report.