Labor Day weekend is the unofficial ending of summer, and law enforcement agencies are urging motorists to use caution and take extra time when traveling.
Unlike the Fourth of July or New Year’s Eve, Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says the Labor Day weekend is not a big drinking holiday.
“Most people are going to go see someone or they’re going to stay home and take advantage of the Labor Day holiday and do something around the house,” he said.
He says drivers should take more time when traveling, because there will be increased traffic on the highways.
“Take your time and be careful,” he said. “We have a cool snap coming in, with clearer weather, and I think it’s going to be a great weekend to travel. I think it’s going to be a good weekend, just use common sense.”
Texting while driving is another issue he says drivers should be aware of.
“Your cell phone rings, and it’s human nature to see who’s calling or if it’s a number you recognize,” he said. “If it’s a call you need to take, answer it and tell them to hang on and find a place to pull over where you can talk. Talking on the phone is not that big of an issue. It’s the texting and driving. I can’t control my vehicle if I’m texting or sending messages.”
In conjunction with the national Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign, Louisiana State Police will be working closely with local law enforcement this weekend. They will be targeting dangerous driving behaviors such as impaired driving, speeding, unrestrained occupants, aggressive driving and distracted driving.
LSP officials say five fatalities were caused by alcohol-related crashes last Labor Day weekend.
“There is nothing more difficult than informing a mother that her child has been killed in a preventable crash,” Col. Mike Edmonson, state police superintendent, said. “Have a plan in place that gets you home safely this Labor Day weekend.”
Whether impaired through alcohol, drugs or a combination of the two, the consequences of driving while impaired remain the same. Driver impairment continues to be a leading factor in fatal crashes across the state.
Sexton says watching for impaired driving has always been a priority for the sheriff’s office.
“Our patrol officers are always going to be looking for the DWIs,” he said.