Stay Safe as Travelers Hit the Road for Holiday Weekend

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Over 40 million people plan to travel this Independence Day weekend.

According to AAA travel for the Fourth of July is up four percent, compared to last year.

The Iowa State Patrol is reminding people to take their time when traveling long distances.

“People wait until the last minute to do everything. They are in a hurry. ‘I'mma get in the car, send a quick text, be there in a minute.’ You are doing it at the red light and the car behind you honks because you are not going. It just is unfortunate, because we have all gotten so quick to jump into that category or road rage because we are not paying attention and not taking the time to get to our destination,” Iowa State Patrol Sergeant Nathan Ludwig said.

Ludwig said with the holiday falling on a Thursday this year, it makes for a longer weekend.

“Technically it falls under a four-day weekend. Any reporting criteria for the DOT for the weekend would fall under a Thursday through Sunday,” Ludwig said.

According to the Iowa DOT, the last time the Fourth of July was on a Thursday the state saw six deaths, three of which were related to alcohol.

Ludwig said alcohol-related OWI’s are down this year, but there is a nationwide trend on the rise.

“What we have seen going up nationwide as a trend is impairment due to drugs. Whether it be prescription drugs, meth, marijuana now with that being legalized and talked about in Illinois it’s definitely a hot topic right now. People just need to be educated on it. Anytime you take something into your body that is going to impair your driving we tell you don’t get behind the wheel,” Ludwig said.

According to a study conducted by ‘Paulson Coletti Trial Attorneys’ 40 percent of all traffic deaths involved at least one drunk driver.

Ludwig said the busiest travel day for the weekend will be Wednesday as people get to their destination and then on Sunday when people are traveling back.

Ludwig said traffic fatalities are higher this year compared to last year. The state has already seen 144 deaths. Last year there were only 140.

There will be extra troopers on the interstate during the holiday weekend.

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