2010 Labor Day Weekend

With fair weather forecasts, and low prices at the pump, troopers anticipate increased travel for the Labor Day weekend.

OHP troopers will be out in full force this weekend patrolling our highways and waterways, and will be paying special attention to drunk drivers, speeders and those not wearing safety belts, as well as any reckless activity on lakes.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol is participating in the national "drunk driving - over the limit - under arrest" campaign, which began August 20th and ends September 6th. This campaign focuses on the importance of getting impaired drivers off the road.

"This year we are asking the public to join us in our efforts to rid our roadways of drunk drivers. We urge motorists to report erratic driving by calling *55 on their cell phone, and to provide a description of the vehicle, its location and direction of travel," said Captain Chris West, OHP spokesman.

The Oklahoma Highway Patrol will be participating in Operation C.A.R.E. (combined accident reduction effort) for the Labor Day holiday, beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, September 3rd, and ending at midnight Monday, September 6th. During the 2009 Labor Day holiday, 9 people were killed and 301 were injured on Oklahoma roads.

"Five of the seven fatality victims in 2009 were not wearing their safety belts, and six of the nine occurred in alcohol-related crashes" said West. "We always stress the importance of seatbelts, and not drinking and driving, but people still fail to listen," West said. "Thousands of Oklahomans will spend the holiday on area lakes, and we encourage our citizens to follow a few simple safety tips," said Captain Mike Mize, troop commander of the OHP Lake Patrol division. "Boaters should have the required equipment such as life jackets, personal floatation devices, fire extinguisher and navigation lights after sunset. Every child 12 or under is required to wear a life jacket." The majority of boating crashes are the result of inattention and alcohol consumption. Stressors on the water such as the glare of the sun and heat intensify the effects of alcohol.

"It is just as dangerous to operate water craft while intoxicated as it is to operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated. The penalties are the same, including jail time, loss of your driving privileges, fines and court costs," Mize said.

"Please keep a proper lookout while underway and watch for children in the water at all times, especially when near shores or docks. said Mize. "This is the time of year when thousands of families pack up their vehicles and head out on vacation. Once the barbecue is over, you still have to get home safely," said West.

"Alcohol was a contributing factor in 13 percent of the 465 crashes during the 2009 labor day holiday. Please do your part to ensure your trip ends up in your family scrapbook and not in our logbook. Slow down, buckle up, and don't drink and drive," West said.