Ohio drivers: take care on Labor Day

Labor Day weekend traffic begins to pick up Friday, with motorists expected on the road through Monday. The highway patrol cautions drivers to take care. T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Summer’s last hurrah is here as Ohioans take to the roads for the Labor Day weekend. Lt. Maurice Waddell, commander of the St. Clairsville post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol, cautions drivers to take care.

“It’s the last major summer holiday and we’re coming out of the summer months, so I’m sure it’s going to be busy with travel. We’re going to have our entire post working that weekend. We will also be working federal overtime hours,” he said.

“We’re going to be looking for the same things we always look for. Impaired driving, distracted driving, safety belts … speed,” he said, adding motorists should take precautions whether choosing to take a lengthy trip the final days of summer or not.

“I would say people are probably still stay close to home, but it’s still busy traffic-wise. Memorial Day, the Fourth of July and Labor Day are the three major holidays and they’re always busy,” Waddell said. “It seems the trend is we’re always getting OVI arrests on Friday and Saturday evenings. We just want to remind people to buckle up, have a designated driver.”

Also, he pointed out the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over program is ongoing, and lasts Aug. 14-Sept. 2.

“We’re more aggressive looking for impaired drivers,” he said, adding that the post troopers have so far made 23 arrests. “That’s two weeks the campaign’s been running.”

Waddell said this marks a slight increase to other regular arrest numbers.

“We always push the message. We want people to designate a driver because we don’t want to have to make these arrests or have to handle a crash involving an impaired driver. We don’t want anyone to be hurt or killed.”

Waddell speculated upcoming work on the Interstate 70 bridge in West Virginia might mean increased traffic on the Ohio side of the river after the holiday weekend.

“So we don’t have to worry about that during that holiday timeframe,” he said. “There’s no major road construction projects going on in the area right now.”

Meanwhile, AAA Ohio Auto Club is prediction the highest Memorial Day travel volume in 14 years despite recent concerns of a possible economic slowdown. AAA notes low unemployment, rising disposable incomes and robust consumer spending have all encouraged consumers to invest in vacations this summer.


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