JACKSON, Miss. – We are just days away from the New Year and with that comes heavier traffic.
The Mississippi Highway Patrol has a plan to keep the roads safe, but they say drivers can also play a part.
“We depend on the motoring public to make really good responsible decisions when it comes to traffic safety just due to the fact we’re very short-handed right now we’re low as far as trooper numbers, but we’re still going to be out on the roadways providing that public safety,” MHP Captain, Johnny Poulos explained.
According to MHP from Dec. 23 until Dec. 26, 59 people were injured with three people killed in car crashes. This year there were 141 crashes reported, a drop from the 250 the state saw around this time last year.
“We’re hoping this high visibility of law enforcement officers in general will let the motoring public realize we’re out there to provide that safe travel to make sure everyone arrives safely,” Poulos said.
During the New Year’s enforcement period checkpoints will be set up throughout Mississippi’s 82 counties cracking down on impaired and distracted driving.
73 Driving Under the Influence arrests were made during Christmas, and officials say that number is unacceptable.
“We also want people to understand and to realize we have time to prepare to have a sober designated drive in place for saturday night,” Poulos said. “This allows everyone to enjoy the festivities and also make it home in a safe manner.”
We are told the cost of a D.U.I. conviction runs between $5,000 to $10,000 in legal fees.
“I don’t think anyone really wants to have to pay that much money, especially in today’s world and worst case scenario when loss of life occurs by an impaired driver that person has to live with that for the rest of their life,” Poulos said.
MHP says the public also has a responsibility of driving safely.
“When we make it home safely to our families your mission has been accomplished, we need everyone that’s driving on the roadways in Mississippi to realize their mission and goal should also be to arrive home safely,” Poulos said.
Enforcement for the New Year’s holiday begins 6 o’clock Saturday evening, it runs until midnight Jan. 1.