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Mississippi Police Promising Full Force Effort Against Drunk Driving

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 24 May 2012 04:35pm | comments

Law enforcement agencies around the state are warning residents to drive sober or get pulled over.  MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports that Alcohol is a main factor in half of all fatal car crashes in Mississippi, accounting for 231 deaths in 2010.

Memorial Day marks the unofficial start of summer and, for many, is a popular holiday for parties and bar-b-ques.

Mississippi law enforcement agencies are promising to have extra officers, and patrol details to monitor the roads for drunk drivers leaving those parties.

Madison County Lt. Mark Sandridge says they will have special patrols dedicated to finding drunk drivers.

"We have got saturation details as well as some check points. These safety check points will be posted on justice court's door. They will let the residents know where these locations will be and what times. And we will be out there around the clock through the weekend," Sandridge said.

Alcohol is the main factor in half of all fatal traffic crashes.

Due in part to its vast stretches of rural roads, Mississippi's rate of fatal crashes is twice the national average.

That makes cross department cooperation a key goal for Hinds County Sheriff Tyrone Lewis.

 

"We are going to be out in full force. We are going to be joining partnerships with other agencies such as the Jackson Police Department. And we will be educating people to be careful. To have a designated driver if they are drinking. And if not, then we are going to take the proper enforcement," Lewis said.

While still a prime factor, alcohol related car crashes have been decline for ten years.

Public safety commissioner Albert Santa Cruz believes these high viability weekends are the reason.

"There has been a decline in fatalities and I attribute that to the high visibility of our enforce. And the 56 new troopers that we ahve in the state. And people are paying more attention to their driving," Santa Cruz said.

Santa Cruz says all of the nearly 400 highway patrol officers will work over the holiday weekend....and they could have their hands full, triple-A is expecting a 2-percent jump in holiday travel.

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