Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

May 25, 2013

Hitting the road

Fewer to travel for holiday, police plan more patrols.

BY JESSIE HELLMANN
For the Kokomo Tribune

— Jim McIntyre filled up his navy blue van at the Marathon gas station on the corner of South Jay Street and Markland Friday afternoon. While he’s happy to see gas prices go down, it’s still too expensive for him to consider traveling on Memorial Day weekend with his family.

“We’d probably go fishing or camping,” McIntyre said. “We just haven’t gotten to this year.”

McIntyre is not alone.

According to a survey released by AAA Travel, 38 percent of travelers indicated high gas prices impacted whether they would travel this weekend or not. This, despite the fact the current national average price for a gallon of gas was about 2 cents lower this time last year and is currently averaging $3.66 a gallon nationwide. Overall travel is down by 0.9 percent from Memorial Day last year.

While fewer people may hit the roads this weekend, local and state law enforcement are still increasing patrols to ensure travelers are wearing seat belts and practicing safe driving habits.

The Kokomo Police Department and Howard County Sheriff’s Department both plan on participating in the national Click it or Ticket seat belt enforcement mobilization.

“Our officers and deputies are prepared to ticket anyone who is not wearing their seat belt,” said Sheriff’s Department Capt. Jerry Asher.

Christine Smith, KPD specialist, said the KPD will also have extra eyes on the road watching for travelers who aren’t wearing seat belts.

“If they’re buckled up, they’re less likely to suffer severe injuries in a traffic crash,” Smith said.

She said extra patrols will also be sent out to look out for drivers who may be driving while intoxicated.

“We will have lots of officers looking for impaired drivers as well during the holiday weekend,” Smith said.

She said the extra patrols will be all over the nation, not just Howard County.

“People might be thinking ‘I’m traveling out of Howard County, so I’m less likely to get stopped,’ but it’s a statewide and nationwide program,” she said.

The Indiana State Police will also have extra patrols out this weekend.

First Sgt. James Strong, of district 16 of the state police, said 16 troopers will patrol the district over the holiday weekend looking for unsafe driving and making sure travelers buckled up. The state police are also participating in Click It or Ticket, but will also look for drivers who are speeding, following too closely and making unsafe lane movements.

For more on this story and other local news, subscribe to The Kokomo Tribune eEdition, or our print edition