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Drones to be employed for traffic regulation during Lunar New Year

SEOUL, Jan. 26 (Yonhap) -- Drones will be used to crack down on bad drivers for the first time during the upcoming Lunar New Year holiday, or "Seol," when the nation's major highways will be packed with cars carrying millions of hometown-bound families, the National Police Agency said Thursday.

Seol, which falls on Saturday this year, is one of the country's two biggest traditional holidays, along with Chuseok, or the equivalent to Thanksgiving Day in the United States. The official holiday period this year ends on Monday.

Police, in cooperation with Korea Expressway Corp. (KEC), will operate four drones on the Gyeongbu, Yeongdong, Jungang and Seohaean highways for traffic regulation, the agency said. The drones, equipped with 20-million-pixel cameras and image transceivers, will fly 25 meters up in the sky at a speed of 20 kilometers per hour to catch various traffic violations, including the breach of bus-only lanes and shoulder driving.

Four remote-controlled airships and 16 helicopters will also be mobilized to check traffic infringements, the agency said.

Some 20 secret police cars will be deployed on the busy highways to crack down particularly on wild and retaliatory driving.

According to the KEC, road congestion is expected to start at around 10:00 a.m. on Friday, and reach its peak at 6-7 p.m. The total number of vehicles using highways nationwide is expected to record about 4.28 million during the day, it added.

Park So-yeon  edt@koreapost.com

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