Just like any holiday, Labor Day is a great time to get together with family and friends and take in one last outdoor barbecue party before fall kicks in.

But also like any other holiday, where there are parties there often is alcohol and, unfortunately, too often that can result in drunk driving.

According to the National Safety Council, Labor Day weekend has averaged 14.6 percent more traffic fatalities in the past six years than in similar weekends that don’t surround a holiday.

Using that data, the National Safety Council estimates 400 traffic fatalities will occur over the holiday weekend and another 38,800 injuries will be sustained from collisions.

Please be safe this holiday weekend and make sure you have a designated driver if you’re going to be drinking.

Also be aware that police will be increasing patrol efforts to keep dangerous drivers off the road. Marion County Sheriff’s deputies will be starting their targeted patrols on Friday.

If you’re driving this weekend, take your time and remember to wear your seat belt. The National Safety Council estimated that 102 lives that were lost over Labor Day could have been saved if people wore their safety restraints.

According to the Oregon Department of Transportation, there were 997 child passengers under age eight injured or killed last year in Oregon motor vehicle crashes.

Let’s not only remember these safe driving habits during the holiday weekend, but also as the school year starts. Local school districts will be sending kids back to school next week, so remember to obey the 20 mph signs in school zones and be vigilant of increased foot traffic during your commute.

We know we sound like a broken record, saying the same thing over and over again, but maybe we wouldn’t have to if the statistics changed for the better. So do your part so you and your loved ones aren’t just a statistic.

The editorial is the official position of the newspaper and does not necessarily represent the opinion of any individual newspaper employee. The other views expressed on this page are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the opinion of the Woodburn Independent or its staff.

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