SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Many people are packing their cars for the long holiday weekend. Members of South Dakota’s Highway Patrol are doing the same — but for the kick off of Operation Care.

As Labor Day weekend approaches, Robert Oliva is getting an early move on his holiday weekend.

“By getting an early start so I can take my time so that I’m not in a rush to get anywhere,” said Robert Oliva, McCook resident.

He’s driving to Watertown for work today. Afterward, he’s hitting the road to Minnesota.

“The big thing really is this: a lot of people I pass are looking at their phones, right. And so that gets to be a little discerning,” Oliva said.

The South Dakota Highway Patrol will be keeping an extra watch out for distracted drivers.

“The troopers will be out. We’ll be participating in the care operation, looking to remove impaired drivers and address speed violations and hazardous moving violations,” said Robert Whisler, Capitan of the South Dakota Highway Patrol.

Captain Robert Whisler says there has been a high number of traffic crashes this year. Just this month, authorities have responded to 26 deadly crashes across the state.

“The month of August has been a deadly month whether it’s in a motor vehicle or on a motorcycle,” Whisler said.

Whisler says there are some things you can do to stay safe this Labor Day weekend and beyond.

“Drive cautiously, wear their seatbelt obviously, never drive impaired and follow the rules of the road so they can get to their destination safely as well as everybody traveling with them,” Whisler said.

“Just giving yourself a little bit of extra time to make sure you’re getting your place where you’re going safely is going to be important,” Oliva said.

Whisler says there have been 24 deadly motorcycle crashes since January. Overall this year there have been 83 crashes that ended with 91 fatalities.