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The director of the University of Tennessee Transportation Center says special factors could increase the risk of July Fourth traffic accidents this year.

Dr. Steve Richards says one of those factors is the day of the week.

“One of the things that make this a particularly problematic Fourth of July is that it falls on a Tuesday and so many people are taking Monday off,” Richards said. “You really have a four-day period where there is going to be signifigant increase in traffic.

“That makes it a very long holiday weekend instead of the typical Fourth which may be in the middle of the week and involves one day only.”

Richards says a record amount of road construction across the state is also a special concern.

“Something that’s unique about his year is that we do have a record number of highway projects underway in the state,” Richards said. “When you combine high traffic volumes, unfamiliar motorists, and add the work zone factors that is a particularly hazardous situation.

“Motorists need to take special caution to be careful in work zones.”
Safety officials expect heavy traffic over the Fourth of July holiday. A survey by the

American Automobile Association projects 37.5 million people will travel 100 miles or more from home between Friday and Tuesday. Of those, 32 million are expected to travel by car.

The Tennessee Highway Patrol and Commercial Vehicle Enforcement will bolster the number of patrol cars on the highways for a 102-hour period beginning at 6 p.m. Friday and lasting until midnight Tuesday.