Authorities looking for impaired drivers during Labor Day weekend

Law enforcement personnel will be looking for impaired drivers and other violations as millions of motorists get on the road for Labor Day weekend, the unofficial end of summer.

Officers will be paying attention to drivers during the 78-hour travel period that started at 6 p.m. Friday and ends at midnight Monday.

Columbus Police Maj. J.D. Hawk, head of the Bureau of Patrol Services, said officers will be paying attention to people who might be out drinking and violating the law.

“We also are aware of people traveling and in a hurry to get to where they want to go,” he said. “We will be monitoring traffic. We also realize there are a lot of special events going on.”

Hawk said no special details are scheduled on the streets.

“That is not to say they aren’t going to be out there,” he added.

The Georgia State Patrol has one goal in mind during the holiday and that’s safety, said Col. Mark W. McDonough, commissioner of the Georgia Department of Public Safety.

“Troopers take saving lives seriously and will be out on full patrols actively looking for unsafe and impaired drivers,” McDonough said. “Plan your trips carefully to allow ample time to reach your destination. Make sure everyone is wearing a seat belt, don’t drive distracted and obey the posted speed limit.”

Last year, troopers investigated 453 traffic crashes over the Labor Day weekend and nine fatalities. Troopers arrested 316 people for driving under the influence and issued 7,359 citations.

In Alabama, all available state troopers will be used to create high visibility on highways to prevent crimes and violations that often lead to injuries and death, said Secretary of Law Enforcement Stan Stabler.

“For many of us, Labor Day weekend is a chance for us to squeeze in one last trip to the beach or lake or other fun warm-weather destination,” he said. “Let’s all do our part to ensure our roadways and waterways are safe. Let’s obey all traffic laws.”

Stabler said troopers will join county and municipal law enforcement across Alabama to promote the national safety campaign, “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.” The campaign is designed to combat driving under the influence.

To get more troopers on the highways for the holiday weekend, grant funding was available from the Alabama Department of Transportation and the Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs.

Labor Day Safety Tips

Avoid driving or boating while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.

Pay attention to speed limits and driving conditions on the road, and obey boating laws on the water.

Be cautious while driving through construction zones. During the heavily traveled holiday, Alabama Department of Transportation will suspend temporary lane closures on interstates from noon Friday through midnight Monday.

Use seat belts and child restraints in motor vehicles and life vests on the water.

Restrict access and closely monitor teens to prevent underage use of alcoholic beverages.

Pay attention to weather conditions, particularly when it involves thunder and lightning.

Source: Alabama Law Enforcement Agency (ALEA) and the Alabama Department of Transportation (ALDOT)