labor day weekend

AAA Michigan estimates 1.2 million Michiganders will take to the roads this weekend
flickr user Jeff B /

Labor Day weekend is at hand, and as gas prices slide back down many of us are prepping to get on the road.

AAA Michigan expects 1.2 million of us to be driving somewhere this holiday weekend, the most since 2008.

The Michigan State Police have been tracking road accidents and deaths for some 40 years, and the numbers say that Labor Day is our deadliest holiday.

An average of 20 people die in traffic over the three-day weekend.

Businesses in Hamtramck, Michigan
Ian Freimuth / creative commons

This weekend brings the 36th annual Hamtramck Labor Day Festival with its food, parade, concerts, carnival and more. All of which is a testament to a tough city that’s refused to be driven to its knees by hard times; a city that’s been made even stronger by its diversity.

Hamtramck Mayor Karen Majewski and City Clerk August Gitschlag joined Stateside to talk about the beginning days of the festival and how, through tough economic times, the celebration continues.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Michigan State Police troopers are putting special emphasis on dangerous driving behaviors over Labor Day weekend.

In a news release, the state police say troopers are joining their counterparts from across the country in a traffic safety initiative called Operation C.A.R.E.

Operation C.A.R.E. was formed to deter three causes of highway fatalities: aggressive driving, impaired driving and failure to use restraints.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

DETROIT (AP) - A call to raise the minimum wage has returned in the run-up to Labor Day.

It's come in the form of worker rallies and a report finding Michigan ranks second-to-worst among states for wage growth during the past 30 years.

Fast-food workers in Detroit, Flint, Lansing and elsewhere protested Thursday demanding higher wages. They seek $15 an hour - more than double the federal minimum wage of $7.25.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

LANSING, Mich. (AP) - Advocates say Michigan policymakers should wake up to the fact that residents are driving less and start focusing on public transit and biking alternatives.

Per-person driving miles in Michigan are down nearly 7% since 2005. It's a trend occurring across the U.S.

Some researchers say the changes are mostly a reflection of the economy and driving could bounce back. Others say the decline in driving reflects fundamental changes in the way Americans view the automobile.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

AAA predicts that 1.2 million Michiganders will travel this Labor Day weekend.  

More than 90 percent will be driving. 

Gasoline prices took their usual pre-holiday weekend jump earlier this week in Michigan.   The statewide average is about $3.75.

But Patrick DeHaan with says that’s not too bad.

“Keep in mind last year…prices were north of four dollars a gallon,” says DeHaan, “So prices this year are about 30 cents per gallon than where they were last year at this time.”

This has been a below-average summer for wildfires in Michigan.  Though parts of the Lower and Upper Peninsulas have been under a ‘high fire danger’ warning for much of August.

Jim Fisher is with the Department of Natural Resources.  He says three-day weekends can add to the problem.

“Usually on three-day weekends there’s many more people out and about in the woods doing things, including having campfires…it does usually cause more fires on those weekends when its drier,” says Fisher.

DETROIT (AP) - People celebrating Labor Day weekend outdoors in Michigan could be setting themselves up as the main course for feasting mosquitoes including the species known to carry the West Nile virus.

The disease has become the summer scourge across the country and the state where on Thursday an 87-year-old Kent County woman became its fifth fatality.

Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio

Michigan gasoline prices have risen 25 cents in the past week.

The price increase is tied to late summer driving demand and Hurricane Isaac disrupting oil production in the Gulf of Mexico.

The average price for a gallon of gasoline in Michigan stands at $4.08, according to

(photo by Steve Carmody/Michigan Radio)

 Many Michiganders will head to the beach or campgrounds to enjoy one last taste of summer during the Labor Day holiday weekend.   AAA predicts 1.2 million Michiganders will travel this weekend.  98 percent will be driving.   

Sergeant Jill Bennett is with the Michigan State Police.    She says police will be out in force this weekend.