LAWTON, Okla._With traffic expected to increase for the holiday weekend, the Oklahoma Highway Patrol says they will be out in full force with local agencies watching for impaired and distracted drivers.
The Labor Day holiday typically marks the official end of summer, and one final vacation opportunity. OHP says during this time last year, troopers responded to 471 accidents across the state.
Troopers say between Friday evening and Saturday morning, traffic is expected to rise. With the increased traffic, they want to warn drivers to use caution when heading to their destination. Trooper Russell Boswell with Troop G says more traffic on our area roads can increase the threat of traffic accidents.
"You run out of road room, there's going to be more cars on the roadway, people start to cluster together, people may be tired and tend to get more irritated, things can just escalate, things can happen in the blink of an eye," Trooper Boswell said.
Last year, eight accidents over Labor Day weekend were fatality accidents. Several of those were due to impaired drivers, which is something Trooper Boswell has seen a number of times.
"When I was pretty new onto the OHP, it was four-year-old boy who died in the middle of the afternoon because of a drunk driver," he explained.
The father of the boy was also killed in that crash. Trooper Boswell says having to knock on the door to tell someone a loved one isn't coming home is the most devastating part.
"Behind these vests and behind these badges, we have a heart just like everybody else does," Trooper Boswell said.
Trooper Boswell says he wants everyone to understand they are only out to keep you safe this weekend.
"To get somebody off the roadway that has the potential of killing one of your loved ones, that's what we do it for," he said.
Trooper Boswell also advises people to watch their surroundings.
"Be wary of where you're at, your area, make sure your familiar with the area you are and that you're well rested," he suggested.
Trooper Boswell says people can expect DUI check points throughout the weekend. He says traffic will pick back up midday Monday.
OHP says this weekend is also a part of their ENDUI campaign, which started in August. It is targeted to catch drunk drivers and get them off the roads.