Regardless of your plans for this last long week-end holiday, which marks the end of summer, beginning of school and football season, make plans to take extra precautions to have a safe three-day weekend.  Yesterday, we issued some great tips from the American Trucking Association for travelers.  Who should know better than the ones who are on our Nation’s highways more than anyone else? 

Labor Day began in 1882 in New York City.  In 1884, the first Monday in September was selected to celebrate “a workingmen’s holiday.”  I’ve got news for history:  there’s a lot of working women who need to be honored alongside them!  Canada observes the same day to honor its workers; many other countries have a Labor Day celebration at different times of the year.  

One thing that will be different about the traditional Labor Day Muscular Dystrophy telethon: Jerry Lewis, age 85, will not be hosting this annual money-raising project this year.  He has hosted the telethon that is held during the Labor Day Weekend for the past 45 years, and it is dear to his heart.   We need to continue this worthwhile cause in helping those who suffer from this debilitating disease and be grateful for what Jerry Lewis has done for the telethon. 

You’ll probably hear your fair share of political speeches, or attend your local annual fair or picnic that volunteers work hard to make successful.  Some folks will go to the lake for that last outing, or participate  in other water sports, such as fishing, boating,  swimming, or hike their favorite lookout spot.   Whatever you decide to do, please keep safety in mind: water safety, camping safety, food safety, and take along that first aid kit, just in case. 

Last, but not least, a friendly reminder from our nation’s law enforcement agencies.  Texas is participating in a nationwide impaired driving crackdown coordinated by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), that combines high-visibility law enforcement with a public information and education campaign.  Between August 19th (you may have already noticed more of them,) and September 5th, thousands of law enforcement officers will be working overtime to stop and arrest impaired drivers on Texas roads and highways.  TxDOT is reminding Texans: if you’re caught drinking and driving, you are going to jail.  And, as we said, this is a nationwide crackdown.  

Do not get behind the wheel if you’ve been drinking. (This applies to driving boats, as well.)  Designate a driver, call a cab, catch a bus, or get someone you trust to pick you up, or spend the night where you are.  A DWI arrest and conviction in Texas can cost up to $17,000 or more: fees include car towing, impoundment, bail, attorney fees, court costs, hearing and fees to regain and retain driver’s license, DWI fine, probation costs, fees for extended proof of insurance, plus insurance rate hikes.   The 2011 theme for Labor Day is: DRINK. DRIVE. GO TO JAIL.

Now that you are properly warned,  get out there and have a great Labor Day!  (We know that not everyone needs that warning.)  You have worked hard and deserve a day of rest and relaxation.  Just please stay safe – whatever you choose to do.