Hurricanes, seatbelts and cell phones: what to keep in mind while traveling Labor Day weekend

Published: Aug. 29, 2019 at 8:06 PM CDT
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Labor Day weekend: One of the busiest times of the year for travel--and also one of the deadliest.

"The Labor Day holiday is tied with Memorial Day holiday period as the second deadliest holiday in the country," said Lieutenant Robert Cannon, a public relations officer for the Florida Panhandle Highway Patrol.

During the annual Hands Across the Borders meeting, law enforcement from Georgia, Florida and Alabama stressed safety for the busy time of year.

"It's very important that we get the message out to eliminate those distractions. Don't drink and drive. Get a designated driver, those kind of things," Cannon said.

In addition to the typical safety tips for travel, there are also new laws drivers in the area need to be aware of. September 1 all vehicle passengers will be required to wear a seat belt.

"In the previous years if you were 15 years of age or older you were a backseat passenger, you were not required to be a seat belt," Troy Highway Post Commander Drew Brooks said, "That will change Sunday."

In addition, it is now a primary offense to use your cell phone while driving in Florida.

"If I see you driving down the road with your cell phone in your hand not paying attention and you're texting and driving then I can go ahead and stop you and take corrective action," Cannon said.

Another concern for this weekend is weather awareness. Law enforcement officials ask that travelers stay up-to-date on Hurricane Dorian in case things take a turn for the worse.

"If this hurricane hits us, hopefully it's gonna go the other way but if it doesn't we want you to be prepared," said Cannon.