Labor Day travel kicking off - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Labor Day travel kicking off

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KENNEWICK, Wash. - According to AAA, 85% of Labor Day travelers will make their holiday journey by hitting the open road. Law enforcement across Washington State will increase patrols in hopes of making summer's last hurrah a safe one.

It's estimated that 33 million Americans will go at least 50 miles from home this weekend. That's up nearly 3% from last year, despite a recent rise in prices at the pump. AAA said the increase of travelers, expected to reach a new post recession high, may be due to improving consumer confidence.

Trooper David Brandt reminds those traveling the roads will be busier.

"More drivers on the road causes congestion and people are trying to get there fast and then they come up on a pack of cars that's moving slower, so this weekend there's heavy traffic flow," said Brandt. "Especially going over the mountain passes. Everyone needs to make sure to keep their following distances and plan for their travel time."

However to help ease some of that congestion, the Washington State Department of Transportation has suspended most of the state's major construction for the holiday. They'll be off the roads from noon Friday through Monday.

Extra patrols will be on the lookout in both Washington and Oregon to help keep commutes safe.

"We're always looking for DUI's, speed and aggressive drivers," said Brandt. "These three things, those combinations are what cause serious injury or fatality collisions out here."

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