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Extra troopers on the road for Labor Day weekend looking for impaired drivers

Drivers won’t be the only ones saturating the roads this Labor Day weekend.

There will be extra officers watching to make sure everybody is obeying traffic laws.

The Florida Highway Patrol and thousands of other law enforcement agencies throughout the state are looking for impaired drivers and enforcing the state’s seat belt law. The campaign runs through Monday.

Florida’s primary seat belt law authorizes law enforcement officers to stop and cite motorists solely for failure to buckle up.

Troopers said the crackdowns work.

Last year, troopers issued more than 16,000 citations statewide over Labor Day weekend and arrested 136 impaired drivers. There were 23 traffic fatalities last year over the holiday weekend, compared to same period in 2008 during which 36 people died in crashes.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office will conduct a DUI saturation patrol looking for drunken drivers from 9 p.m. Friday to 5 a.m. Saturday in Tamarac, Deerfield Beach, Pompano Beach and Oakland Park. Specific locations weren’t disclosed.

Drivers on Interstate 95, Florida’s Turnpike and other turnpike-system roads should find as many lanes as possible will be open in construction zones over Labor Day weekend to deal with heavy traffic volume.

If you’re heading north on the turnpike, officials say drivers should prepare for backups at the Lantana toll plaza in Palm Beach County and at the Three Lakes and Leesburg toll plazas near Orlando.

On Saturday, the University of Florida will play its first home football game in Gainesville, meaning extra drivers likely will be on the turnpike and Interstate 75 north of Wildwood.

The American Automobile Association will be on the road helping an expected increase in stranded drivers.

From 2008 to 2009, calls to AAA for dead batteries over Labor Day jumped 41 percent.

“It’s a busy holiday for motorists and extremely hot. The heat alone can drain a battery,” said Jay Bolster, an AAA battery expert.

If your interior lights starting to dim or flicker or if your car starts slower than usual, those are the warning signs that your battery could be dying and should be inspected, according to AAA.

Meanwhile, if you choose to fly, plan ahead to find time for parking which tends to fill up on weekends and holidays, airport officials said.

Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport expects more than 350,000 passengers in the period running from Wednesday, Sept. 1 to Tuesday, Sept. 7. Friday is expected to be the busiest day in the terminals.

At Palm Beach International Airport, travelers can now pay for parking with SunPass. The airport is the first in South Florida to accept SunPass as payment for parking.


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