Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

Opinion

August 29, 2013

Drive safely this holiday

You’ll have company on Indiana highways and byways during this last three-day holiday of summer.

About 250 state and local law enforcement agencies will be patrolling streets and roads as part of the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign against impaired driving.

And with them will be quite a few motorists.

AAA estimates 34.1 million Americans will drive at least 50 miles away from home this year to celebrate Labor Day — more than any other September break since 2008.

Eighty-five percent of those getting away over the three-day weekend — 29.2 million people — will travel by car, 1.2 million more than last year, AAA said. The motoring and travel nonprofit also foresees an almost 3 percent increase in air travelers.

“AAA is forecasting a lift in Labor Day travel this year due to the increasingly positive economic outlook and optimism in the housing market,” president and CEO Robert Darbelnet said last week.

In Indiana, drivers can expect:

• Sobriety checkpoints to take drunken drivers off the roads.

• Law enforcement officers watching for unsafe lane changes, vehicles following others too closely and speeding.

• Officers ensuring that all occupants in a vehicle are wearing seat belts.

Before heading out on the road, remember to make sure your tires are properly inflated, and that your wipers and lights operate properly.

Also allow for extra time to your destination, and keep a little extra space between you and the vehicle in front of you.

In Indiana, 140 people were killed in crashes involving a drunken driver in 2011, the state Criminal Justice Institute reports.

Of the more than 4,900 alcohol-related crashes that occurred on Indiana roadways in 2010, nearly 30 percent resulted in death or injury.

Drive safely this holiday. And have a happy Labor Day.

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