Indio, Calif. - More Southern Californians will travel over this holiday weekend than during any other Labor Day holiday since 2008, according to projections from the Automobile Club of Southern California.
More than 2.48 million Southland residents are expected to take trips -- a 1.6 percent increase over last year's holiday. the Auto club said in a statement. Nearly 80 percent of local travelers, or 1.98 million, are expected to drive to their destinations -- a 1.9 percent increase from last year.
Air travelers are expected to increase by less than 1 percent, to 314,000 locally, while the number going by bus, train, cruise ship or other means is projected to hold steady at 189,000, the AAA said.
Statewide, 3.99 million travelers are expected to get away this holiday weekend, compared to 3.93 million last year - also a 1.6 percent increase. Of those, 3.19 million will drive, a 1.9 percent increase from last year's 3.13 million, and 508,000 will fly, which is a 0.5 percent increase from last year's 505,000 air travelers statewide. About 290,000 are expected to go by other modes of travel, almost the same as last year.
The top destinations for Southland Labor Day travelers are, in the following order, San Diego, San Francisco, Las Vegas. California's Central Coast and the Grand Canyon, according to the Auto Club. The all-time record for Southern California Labor Day holiday travel was set in 2008, when 3.2 million Southern Californians and 5.2 million statewide took holiday trips, according to the Auto Club.
Nationally, more than 34.7 million Americans are projected to travel at least 50 miles away from home during this holiday period. That's a 1.3 percent increase from last year's 34.2 million travelers.
Here in the Coachella Valley, authorities will be on the lookout for drunken and drug-impaired motorists all weekend.
Extra patrols are scheduled:
-- 7 tonight to 3 a.m. Saturday in Indian Wells
-- 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday in Palm Desert.
DUI and driver's license checkpoints are scheduled:
-- 7 p.m. Saturday to 3 a.m. Sunday in Coachella and Blythe.
The Desert Hot Springs Police Department is also targeting impaired drivers through Labor Day as part of the ``Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over'' campaign.