Despite a recent increase in gas prices, travelers are expected to turn out in force this weekend, mirroring trends seen throughout the year, according to AAA estimates.
The total number of holiday travelers this September will likely reach a post-recession high, and is the third increase in holiday travel this year, according to the AAA/IHS Global Insight 2012 Labor Day Holiday Travel Forecast.
"Even with the nation's overall domestic picture showing a decelerated recovery and the recent uptick in gas prices, Virginians continue to look forward to their end-of-summer vacations," Martha Mitchell Meade, manager of public and government affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic, said in a written report on travel holiday. "The increase in expected Labor Day holiday weekend travelers is driven by improving customer confidence compared to one year ago and American's unwavering desire to travel."
And folks out on the road should be sure to drive sober, police warn.
The Tennessee Highway Patrol will have increased patrol saturations throughout the state, particularly in Sullivan County, where they, the Sullivan County Sheriff's Office and the Bristol Tennessee Police Department are rolling out enforcement of a new law that permits officers to obtain a warrant to search someone's blood if the person is suspected of driving under the influence.
"Drunk driving continues to threaten public safety, and we refuse to stand by and give offenders the opportunity to claim innocent lives on our roadways," Highway Patrol Col. Tracy Trott said in a written announcement of the increased enforcement plans.
Virginia State Police troopers also will be out, conducting both stationary and roving patrols, according to a statement from the state police. Last year, 16 people died during the four days counted as part of the weekend, compared with 13 who died in 2010 and 2009, police said. Also last year, 110 drunken drivers were arrested on Virginia roads during the Labor Day weekend, the statement said.
About 75 percent of the state police force will be out starting after midnight this morning and continuing through midnight Monday night.
"I encourage all motorists to put forth a concerted effort this weekend to make safe driving a priority, so we can save lives rather than sacrifice them because of an individual's reckless and deadly driving behaviors," Col. Steven Flaherty, the Virginia police superintendent, said in the statement.
YOU SHOULD KNOW
Nationwide $3.826 $3.612
Tri-Cities $3.664 $3.455
Source: AAA Fuel Gauge Report
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