Oklahoma Labor Day travel expected to exceed 400,000

Drivers pass by on Broadway in Poteau Thursday afternoon.
AAA Oklahoma
Press Release

Hundreds of thousands of Oklahomans are expected to travel over Labor Day weekend, AAA Oklahoma said.

A recent online survey by the travel organization predicts 411,000 Oklahomans will travel 50 or more miles from home over the Labor Day weekend, the most since 2008.

Many from our area will find themselves trekking down to the Choctaw Nation Labor Day Festival in Tuskahoma. The festival is ongoing daily into Labor Day on Monday.

The report by AAA said more than 95 percent of travelers will drive and 4.4 percent will fly. Additionally, nearly 27 percent said the low cost of gasoline influenced their decision to travel this weekend.
Despite Oklahoma's average price of regular gasoline rising more than 20 cents since Aug. 1, with a $2.13 average Thursday, prices remain 17 cents cheaper than prices on Sept. 1, 2015.

“Labor Day is a high risk holiday for motorists,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.

“Three things contribute to the danger: it’s the last gasp of summer — we’re trying to make the most of it and that means we tend to take chances we wouldn’t ordinarily take, we’re in a party frame of mind and alcohol is often present, and warm temperatures sap our strength and make us sleepy. So we have distracted drivers, drivers who have been drinking and drowsy drivers.”

Across the nation, 35.5 million people traveled over Labor Day weekend last year. The number is expected to increase this year.

AAA is encouraging drivers to be safe while out on the road this weekend. Nationwide, the U.S. fatality rate could exceed 40,000 this year.

The National Safety Council estimated traffic deaths are 9 percent higher during the first six months of 2016 compared to last year, AAA said. In 2015, of those killed in traffic accidents over Labor Day weekend in Oklahoma, none of the victims were wearing a seat belt, AAA said.