Law enforcement agencies from the tri-state area gathered Friday morning before dedicating themselves to keeping local roadways safe over the busy Memorial Day weekend.
West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania state police, as well as members of the Wheeling police and Ohio County sheriffs' departments met at the West Virginia Interstate 70 Welcome Center near Triadelphia as they kicked off "Operation Combined Accident Reduction Effort."
Operation CARE started in 1977 and is a program in which law enforcement agencies combine their efforts to reduce roadway accidents, especially during national holidays.
West Virginia State Police Sgt. Jason Laing said cooperation among state police agencies is crucial to keeping the roadways safe in the tri-state area.
The visibility of police on highways in West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania will greatly reduce the risk of accidents this weekend, he added.
Also present were U.S. Attorney William Ihlenfeld II and state Senate President Jeff Kessler, D-Marshall, who reminded drivers "to slow down, keep your eyes on the road and never drink and drive."
"I hope you guys aren't very busy this weekend," Kessler told law enforcement officers. "I suspect that won't be the case, but if in fact there are violations, we will know there is an adequate police presence in our communities."
J.J. Miller, AAA safety adviser, said Memorial Day weekend is the deadliest three-day holiday period of the year. And with almost 90 percent of all holiday travelers driving to their destinations, motorists must do their part to keep the roads safe.
"State police and other law enforcement agencies put forth a tremendous effort in traffic enforcement to keep us safe," Miller said. "But enforcement is not enough. Drivers need to put forth a concerted effort to assure their safety, the safety of their passengers and others sharing the roadway."