Make the holiday a safe one

When Labor Day became a national holiday in 1894, it was designated as a day for America to honor its workers and their contributions to our country.

The nature of the holiday has changed significantly since its inception. We still pay tribute to our workforce, but the day also serves as the unofficial end of summer, and the beginning of fall and football season.

For many, it’s a day off work and a good excuse to have one last summer party. If your party includes alcohol, remember to stay safe by not getting behind the wheel after drinking or using drugs.

According to USA Today, Labor Day is one of the U.S. holidays that ranks among the deadliest for drunk driving. In the past 20 years, between 400 and 450 people have lost their lives on average each year, and thousands of others have been injured in vehicle-related accidents taking place over the long Labor Day weekend, the newspaper said.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol is warning drivers that troopers will be out in force this Labor Day weekend to remove impaired drivers from roadways.

During the 2017 holiday, there were 16 fatal crashes that resulted in 16 deaths on Ohio’s highways, one more death than 15 that occurred in 2016, according to the Ohio Department of Transportation. Four of those were OVI related, and five were connected to not wearing a seat belt.

So far this year in Ohio, there have been 705 confirmed traffic fatalities

More Ohioans are planning Labor Day vacations this year according to AAA Ohio booking data.

The number of Ohio travelers leaving the state during the holiday will be 8.2 percent higher than last year, AAA says.

Don’t add to the danger of increased traffic by driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol this holiday weekend. You don’t want to kick off the new season with a costly OVI charge or involvement in an accident that results in serious injuries or death.