AAA reports uptick in New England Labor Day traffic - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

AAA reports uptick in New England Labor Day traffic

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

The unofficial end of summer pushed New Englanders to the pavement this weekend as AAA Southern New England estimates 1.6 million New Englanders are hitting the road on Labor Day.

An estimated 11 percent of people across New England traveled 50 miles or more to celebrate Labor Day.

"We played some golf, enjoyed some fantastic weather, sat by the campfire," said Tim Murphy of Lunenburg, MA.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, the heaviest traffic is expected Monday night on I-90 eastbound.

But travelers stopping in Western Mass for a break from their trips told CBS 3, the traffic is flowing much smoother than expected.

"The traffic is light, so far it's been good, but we left fairly early around 9:30 this morning, so it's been good, much better than I expected," said Jonna Burns, Weymouth.

AAA reports this year's Labor Day traffic is up 3 percent from last year. Officials said it could be a reflection of the country's slow economic recovery.

But the busier roadways also mean more accidents, and on Labor Day, which has become almost synonymous with beers and backyard barbecues, those accidents can turn deadly.

This holiday weekend has already proved fatal in New England as three Massachusetts residents and one New Hampshire woman were killed this weekend in six accidents, two of them alcohol-related.

State police are urging drivers to drive carefully - and sober.

Travelers in Western Mass had their own advice.

"Start early," Murphy said.

"Stay to the speed limit, and that will avoid problems that might occur," Burns said.

State police are conducting sobriety checkpoints across the state to crack down on drunk driving Monday night.

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