Posted: Sep 1, 2012 7:33 AM by Lindsey Gordon - MTN News
Updated: Sep 1, 2012 7:56 AM
HELENA- Whether you're preparing to head out on the road, or you're staying in town, there will be a lot of people driving this holiday weekend.
AAA is projecting that this year there will be more travelers this Labor Day weekend than there have been since the recession, and 85% of those travelers will be on the road.
Drunk driving is always a concern over Labor Day weekend and the Montana Highway Patrol caution drivers to be extra careful out there.
"Any given holiday weekend, it's known that there's gonna be more traffic. We expect 'til Monday to have a significant impact on our highway system," said Lt. Colonel Butch Huseby with the Montana Highway Patrol.
The AAA projected numbers seem to be an indication of consumer confidence.
"We're slowly but surely started to recover from the recession and for a while a lot of people were staying closer to home," said Tara Jones, a spokesperson for AAA.
That seems to be changing.
"Just be aware that there's a lot of drivers out on the road this weekend and that holiday weekends like this tend to cause an increase in impaired drivers," Jones aded.
In the last five years nationally, there were nearly 900 people killed in impaired driving crashes over Labor Day weekend, with an average of 180 people killed over the last five years.
In Montana there have been 19 fatal crashes in the last five years with 22 deaths during Labor Day weekends. However, in 2011 Montana saw no impaired driving deaths over Labor Day weekend.
Those living in the "Treasure State" are no strangers to traveling long distances.
"Montana's a big state , it's not like being in a community that's large enough that you can have events that you can walk to. That doesn't happen here, everybody has to drive to get somewhere, but what we ask is if you do have to do that, and you do partake in the party, with alcohol or with something that would impair your ability to drive a motor vehicle, that you be responsible when you do that," said Huseby.