SWANTON, Ohio — The Labor Day holiday weekend is here and the most important thing to keep in mind is safety.
The Ohio State Highway Patrol is out in full force doing its best to keep you safe and there are some things troopers are keeping an out for on the road.
"We'll be working 24 hours, we'll be working 24 hours basically to make sure the roadways are safe for our citizens," Sgt. Christopher Fitzgerald of the Ohio State Highway Patrol Toledo post said.
There are three things officers want you to remember this weekend.
For starters: SLOW DOWN. Also, move over if you see a construction zone or that an officer has made a stop, and of course, don't forget your seat belt.
"Troopers generally don't like to inconvenience people, but what we do is, we like to stop people to make contacts with them, positive contacts with them so that they know that we're out there and that we're watching and that we're also out there to make sure they're safe," said Fitzgerald.
Officers will be on the lookout for distracted driving.
It is every driver's responsibility to follow the rules of the road, but also a good idea to stay focused on driving so you're prepared to drive defensively if something unexpected happens.
Now that we've all got our phones riding along with us, the temptation to become distracted has increased, but so has the fine if you get caught taking your eyes off the road.
Sergeant Fitzgerald said even though officers are out in full force, the highway patrol isn't sitting on the road just to hand out citations.
"We don't just give tickets. We're out there for correcting bad behaviors, okay, behaviors that are going to cause crashes and that are basically generally unsafe. I don't know of any trooper that generally likes to take money out of peoples pockets," he said.
One of the major reasons all these police officers are out this weekend is for your safety.
If you run out of gas, have a flat tire, see an impaired driver, or need assistance yourself, dial #677 for help, or 911 for an emergency.
In a release from OSHP the department said:
"The Ohio State Highway Patrol is urging drivers to be safe this Labor Day weekend. Troopers will focus enforcement efforts on removing impaired drivers from Ohio’s roadways. Motorists can do their part in keeping the roadways safe by following all traffic laws, never driving impaired and always designating a sober driver."
During the 2018 Labor Day holiday weekend, there were 12 fatal crashes which killed 12 people. Three of those fatalities were OVI related and one of those fatalities was unbelted. OSHP also made 898 OVI arrests during last year’s holiday weekend.
“Removing impaired drivers from our roadways is a primary focus for us,” said Colonel Richard S. Fambro, Patrol superintendent. “Protect yourself, your passengers and others on the road by making smart choices and planning a safe ride home.”
According to AAA, the number of Ohioans traveling to destinations in celebration of Labor Day will be 8.2 percent higher than last year. This can lead to congested roadways; to combat congestion: plan ahead, allow extra time, follow traffic laws, share the road with other motorists and always wear a safety belt.
“I am asking all Ohioans to keep safety in mind as they travel through the state this holiday weekend,” said Governor Mike DeWine. “By making good decisions, you help make our roads safer.”
The 2019 Labor Day weekend reporting period begins Friday, August 30 at 12 a.m. and ends Monday, September 2 at 11:59 p.m.