Protecting Labor Day travelers

Labor Day ... the unofficial end to summer where friends and family soak in those last few moments of boating and grilling.

Well, not for everyone.

"You're away from your family, and you don't get to see them all of the time, a lot of people are having bar-b-queâ??s, picnics,â?? Trooper Dan Hill from the Illinois State Police District 14 said. â??It's the end of the summer and many times we don't get to be there. We're out trying to protect the public, make sure everyone is safe as they're traveling up and down the roadways."

For the Illinois State Police, Labor Day is one of their many holiday enforcement periods.

Due to the increase in traffic, officers will be monitoring the roadways for speeding, not wearing seat-belts, DUIs and distracted drivers.

In the past year, District 14 had four fatal crashes and three of them were in Hancock County.

â??Anytime you have increased traffic on the roadway you're going to have increased chances for crashes, people exceeding the posted speed limit, people not wearing their seatbelts and things like that, so on a holiday like this we do see increased travel," Hill said.

But for some holiday workers, they're able to avoid most of the traffic.

â??Actually it's a little easier to work on Labor Day, sometimes, especially in the mornings when we take off early,â?? local truck driver William Bennett said.

But once mid-day hits, so does the traffic.

"This afternoon will be a little bit of a nightmare," Bennett said.

While missing out on Labor Day activities can be a bit disappointing, Trooper Dan Hill said, "If somebody remembers, because we're out there, to put their seat-belt on, they get in a crash later and it saves their life, then our job there is done and it's well worth working on a holiday."

(Story by KHQA Multimedia Journalist Lauren Kalil.)