AAA: Expect more drivers on holiday weekend

Posted at 2:06 PM, May 22, 2012
and last updated 2012-05-22 14:06:16-04

RICHMOND, Va (WTVR) – Increasing faith in the economy means Virginia’s roadways will be more crowded this Memorial Day weekend, according to a report from AAA Mid-Atlantic.

The motor club released their annual holiday weekend forecast this morning during a press conference at the Bryan Park overpass in Richmond.

The group is predicting 1.2 percent more travelers will be on the Commonwealth’s roads this weekend between Thursday and Sunday. That totals up to about 12,000 people. Most travelers surveyed say they’re not deterred by gas prices, which are about 30 cents per gallon lower than in 2011.

The group estimates 1,031,469 Virginians will journey 50 miles or more this year. Survey results show many of those travelers will be cutting back on expenses once they reach their destination.

“With the nation’s overall domestic economic picture continuing to show a slow and steady recovery, American consumers faced a new challenge this year as ever increasing gas prices this spring cut into family budgets and thus vacations dollars” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

“While Virginians are still heading out in great numbers to commemorate our nation’s fallen, many will compensate for reduced travel budgets by staying closer to home and cutting entertainment dollars.”

Fewer Virginians will be flying this holiday weekend. AAA is reporting a 5.6 percent drop compared to last year.

Virginia State Police were also on hand at the press conference speaking about road safety. Last year 12 people were killed in car accidents on Virginia’s roadways on memorial day weekend. That’s up from 11 during memorial day weekend 2010.

Captain Steven Chumley says in addition to increasing officer presence on the roadways, Virginia State Police and local jurisdictions have just launched a two-week click it or ticket campaign.