Make it a safe holiday weekend

The start of the school year and the Labor Day holiday weekend are sure signs that the end of summer are upon us.

And it appears many Ohioans will hit the roads this weekend for one final summer getaway, be it a mini-vacation or another type of outing such as a picnic. According to AAA, nearly 5.9 million people throughout the East North Central states, which includes the Buckeye State, will travel 50 or more miles sometime today through Monday.

Of that figure, 5.3 million will travel by car – an increase of 3.5 percent from the same time a year ago.

Nationally, AAA estimates some 34.1 million Americans will travel during the Labor Day weekend.

If you plan on hitting the highways, we urge you, as always, to do so safely. Drive with care.

Also, never consume alcohol and get behind the wheel. It’s a deadly combination.

Unfortunately, it appears alcohol does play a role during this holiday. In 2012, some 185 alcohol-related crashes, resulting in five deaths and 107 injuries, were reported on Ohio’s highways during the Labor Day weekend.

Those are numbers that never are easy to report. They also can easily be preventable by simply not consuming and driving.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol will be out in full force, as has been the case since its “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign against impaired driving started on Aug. 16. The OHP, along with other law enforcement, have planned more than 7,000 enforcement hours and more than 900 hours of saturation patrols throughout the state.

What that should tell you is there’s a good chance if you are driving impaired, you will get caught.

The HP reports that 494 people died in 453 OVI-related crashes on Ohio’s roads in 2012. Impaired drivers were involved in 44 percent of all fatal traffic crashes.

“We can’t fight the battle against impaired driving on our own we need your commitment to make our roads safer,” said Colonel Paul A. Pride, Patrol superintendent. “You can contribute to a safer Ohio by actively influencing friends and family to make safe, responsible decisions like planning ahead to designate a driver and insisting that everyone in the vehicle is buckled up.”

Motorists also may help by using #677 on their cellphones to report impaired drivers and drug activity.

We don’t want you to become a number this holiday or any time for that matter.