FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. -- Despite the high price of gas, Fourth of July holiday travel is expected to skyrocket this year, with Connecticut and New England seeing the highest number of travelers in more than a decade, says AAA Southern New England.
New England is expected to see a 2.5 percent increase in travelers, the most since 2001, says AAA, with 2.1 million New Englanders hitting the roads and flying the skies.
This year’s travel increase may be attributed to an improved economy, AAA said. Consumer spending is on the uptick and is driving more Americans to take a road trip this year despite skyrocketing gas prices.
The national average price for regular unleaded gasoline is $3.68 per gallon, 19 cents higher when compared to last year. In Connecticut, average prices are $3.98, 20 cents more than last year.
And with the increased travel will come heightened patrols by the Connecticut State Police, who will increase the number of troopers patrolling the highways and roads. Operation C.A.R.E. (Combined Accident Reduction Effort) will be in effect starting July 3 and running through midnight July 7.
Laser speed measuring units will be used to enforce speed on highways and secondary roads, state police said in a statement. Troopers will be strategically placed to reduce speeds on the highways and roadways during the holiday weekend.
In addition, Connecticut State Troopers will operate sobriety checkpoints in numerous locations, including along I-84 and I-95 throughout Fairfield County.
“Wear your seatbelt, it can save your life. Please remember that courtesy on the highway can be contagious. Set the example by obeying all traffic laws, and drive the speed limits," Emergency Services & Public Protection Commissioner Dora B. Schriro said.
Col. Brian Meraviglia, commander of the Connecticut State Police, said: “Connecticut drivers can help State Troopers keep our highways safe by setting an example. Drive the speed limit, don’t drink alcohol and drive, and immediately report a suspected drunk driver to police by calling 911, as this is a true emergency.”