According to AAA, 34.8 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, a 1.2% increase compared to last year.
The price at the pump may be why... AAA says Americans are paying an average of 30 cents less for a gallon of gas compared to last year.
As of Thursday, May 24th, 2012 the national average for a gallon of gas is $3.67, down 17 cents from one month ago and down 15 cents from one year ago. In the Illinois Quad Cities, the current average is $3.71. The price at the pump was 22 cents higher one month ago and over the $4 mark last year. Across the Mississippi River, a gallon of gas is $3.45 right now. It was $3.70 one month ago and $3.83 one year ago.
But as you fill up and gear up for the travel weekend, police are doing the same. On Wednesday, May 23rd, 2012, the Illinois Department of Transportation held a press conference to remind drivers to get a designated driver if you plan on drinking, wear your seat belt at all times, and avoid using your cell phone when behind the wheel.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 3,000 people were killed in distracted driving car crashes in 2010 alone. It was just a couple weeks ago when a young girl lost control of her car because she was texting while driving on Interstate 74. Police say she survived because she was wearing a seat belt.
However, seat belt or not, police still say that distracted driving is becoming a very dangerous epidemic.
"That's something that is becoming more prevalent and we really would like to see people when they get in the car, take that blackberry or cell phone and just put it in the glove box and ignore it while you're driving and if it's something important, pull over," warns Pat O'Brien, Bureau Chief of IDOT. "Don't be driving and texting."
Police will also be increasing patrols and enforcement zones starting Thursday, May 24th and into Memorial Day to check for anyone breaking the law.