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Mississippi Cops Planning Increased Anti-DUI Efforts

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 21 Nov 2011 06:48pm | comments

Thousands of Mississippians will be traveling the roads to visit families and friends for the Thanksgiving holiday. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Mississippi law enforcement will be watching closely for dangerous drunken drivers.

Last year, officers around the state made more than 30-thousand DUI arrests but there were still more than 200 fatal alcohol related car crashes.

Highway Patrol Colonel Donnell Berry says they will have extra officers patrolling all weekend.

"We are going to be at full force. We have got the Thanksgiving holiday coming up and that is one of the holidays where people travel and visit loved ones and family members. We are going to be out in full force and bring in some people that are working on their days off and people who are working on a federal call back program. So we are going to be in full force out there," Berry said.

Mississippi has the highest per capita rate of fatal car crashes in the nation, due in part to the state's vast rural areas.

Anti-drunk driving advocates recommending setting up a plan for designated drivers as part of organizing the thanksgiving dinner.

Twyla Jennings is planning to drive from Jackson to Greenwood to visit her parents and her family has a plan ready.

"Everybody has a driver before they leave there because we know the importance of coming back safely. Because Thanksgiving is all about being thankful for your family and what you have. And it is a major holiday for a lot of wrecks that take place and you cannot be thankful for family that is not here," Jennings said.

Driving is still the most popular mode of travel, about 40-million people will drive somewhere week and go an average 700 miles, says Triple-A's Michael Right.

"People have experienced air travel and they don't like the experience as much as it used to be a pleasurable experience. And The cost of air travel as well as the inconveniences associated with air travel is bringing its numbers down somewhat," Right said.

The total number of travelers is expected to go up about 4% this year, which Right thinks is driven by pent up demand by people who have put off traveling in recent years due to the recession.



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