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Troopers Plan Holiday Crackdown Despite Manpower Shortage

State troopers across the country are focusing their efforts on Interstate 40 over the Thanksgiving weekend. But in North Carolina, their presence might not be as strong as it is everywhere else.

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RALEIGH, N.C. — More than 38 million people are traveling throughout the nation over the long Thanksgiving weekend, with 1.1 million people jamming North Carolina roadways. Those drivers can expect plenty of watchful eyes as troopers with the state's Highway Patrol monitor the traffic flow.

Troopers across the country are focusing their efforts on Interstate 40. Each state has plans to post a state trooper every 10 miles along I-40 from the West Coast to Wilmington, covering 2,554 miles and eight states.

"I think it will slow people down," said driver Mike Davis. "It'll probably wake a lot of people up, because there's a lot of people going too fast."

The police presence in North Carolina might not be as strong as it is everywhere else, however.

"We don't have the manpower right now, the Highway Patrol, to put a trooper at 10-mile increments," said Sgt. Jeff Gordon with the Highway Patrol. "We do the best that we have."

Right now, there are just over 1,800 North Carolina state troopers. But leaders with the Highway Patrol say that's not enough. In fact, they're in the mist of a recruiting campaign to get more people to work the roads.

While their numbers might not be up, Highway Patrol officials said that drivers shouldn't think that they can get a free ride this holiday.

"We have people on 1-40, I-540, U.S. highways, N.C. highways," Gordon said. "We will be out in full force. We just hope everybody gets from Point A to Point B safely."

Like every holiday season, Highway Patrol officials said that troopers will focus on three things -- drunk drivers, speeders, and people not wearing seat belts.