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Brooke Walker ReportingLabor Day is always a popular time to travel and this year was no exception. It seems even record-shattering gas prices were not enough to keep Utahans from traveling this holiday weekend. People seemed determined to take that one, last summer trip.
The numbers are still up, today the average price for a regular gallon of gasoline is $2.89. But apparently that wasn't enough to scare people away.
Kyle Beck, Holiday traveler: “I’m not going to lose the battle. I’ll pay the price no matter what the price is. I don’t want it to go up, but I’ll pay for it.”
Despite the demands at the pump, AAA estimates more than 300-thousand Utahans were out and about this weekend. That number is slightly more than last year.
Rolayne Fairclough, AAA: "When those kinds of plans are in the works and last holiday of the summer, people really just like to get out of town and have one last hurrah."
UDOT tried to make the weekend travel as painless as possible, stopping construction where they could. And the Highway Patrol has been out in full force. Saturday night troopers held a successful DUI blitz that resulted in 25 DUI arrests. Highway Patrol is also cracking down on speed, hoping to prevent the predicted.
Sgt. Terry Woodward, Utah Highway Patrol: "People are in a hurry to get out, a hurry to get in so it usually means a lot of accidents for us."
Labor Day signifies the end of what is known as the "101 deadliest days on the road." According to AAA, the stretch from Memorial Day to Labor Day results in more car crash fatalities than any other time of year. Fortunately, in Salt Lake County this weekend did not contribute to that pattern.
Sgt. Terry Woodward: "Not too bad. I haven't been informed of any fatalities over the weekend. We've had some crashes, but it hasn't been as busy as in past years."
The National Highway Safety Administration expects more than 500 deaths to occur this weekend, due to automobile crashes. But in Utah, so far--
Sgt. Terry Woodward: "So far I guess we've had a pretty decent weekend."
They key there is so far. The weekend is not quite over yet. Highway Patrol expects an increase in road congestion this evening, with people on their way back home. They want to continue to encourage drivers to travel with care.