Police Prepare for Labor Day Drunk Drivers
This Labor Day weekend, AAA estimates that 34.1 million Americans will be traveling 50 miles or more from their homes. This 4.2% increase will push Labor Day travel to its highest level since its recession-driven low of 31.3 million in 2009.
AAA also expects 85% of this year’s Labor Day travelers to make their journeys by car, 4.3% more than last year, so be prepared for extra traffic on the road!
Police Planning to Target Drunk Driving
Labor Day is a great opportunity to enjoy one last vacation before the school year begins, but it’s also a dangerous time to be on the road. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, drunk driving contributed to 138 Labor Day weekend traffic fatalities in 2011 alone, and to a total of 800 deaths in the past 5 years.
In an effort to deter drunk driving and to remove as many drunk drivers from the road as possible, police departments all over the nation are planning increased enforcement efforts during the holiday weekend, including sobriety checkpoints and an increased presence on roads and highways. Make your journey safely and without getting a ticket by taking the following steps:
- As always, designate a driver who can commit to the responsibility of driving safely, or use taxis and public transit.
- Watch for slowing traffic as you approach a checkpoint, and follow the officers’ instructions as you move through the checkpoint. Keep your drivers license in a place where you can retrieve it easily when requested by an officer.
- If you see police or other emergency vehicles stopped by the side of highway with their lights activated, be ready to slow down and safely move over. Many states have passed "Move Over" laws, and you can be issued a ticket if you don’t comply.
- Know what to do if you see a drunk driver on the road.
Avoid "Drunk Walking"
A new pedestrian safety study by the NHTSA revealed that 37% of pedestrians killed in fatal crashes in 2011 had a BAC of .08% or higher. If you choose walking as your method of transportation this weekend, keep in mind that alcohol impairment affects pedestrian abilities and judgment too.
Other Driving Dangers
Drunk driving isn't the only cause of crashes over Labor Day weekend. The National Safety Council anticipates a total of 394 traffic fatalities plus 42,200 medically consulted injuries over the holiday weekend. The NSC also projects that 143 lives will be saved as a result of wearing seatbelts, and an additional 99 lives could be saved if all car travelers buckled up.
Don’t become part of this year’s Labor Day crash statistics!
- Avoid distraction by refraining from hand-held and hands-free cell phone use, and stop to rest or let another driver take over if you experience daydreaming or drowsiness.
- Buckle up, and make sure your passengers do the same!
- Allow extra travel time to cope with holiday traffic and avoid feeling rushed and tempted to speed.