New Year’s Eve road safety

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Tonight, some people throughout the state and Pearl River County will be spending their evenings reveling in the merriment of New Year’s Eve celebrations. The Mississippi Department of Transportation urges motorists to be safe on the roads as people welcome in the new year.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, more than 10,000 people die each year on roadways due to impaired driving. In 2012, 31 percent of traffic-related deaths in Mississippi were caused by impaired drivers.
During 2012, according to an MDOT release, 684 Mississippi drivers were involved in fatal impaired driving accidents and 406 drivers in Mississippi were killed in drunk driving-related car crashes.
Ben Siebert with the Mississippi Highway Patrol would like to remind residents to wear their seatbelts and to not drink and drive.
“There will be increased patrolmen on the roads, as well as checkpoints,” Siebert said. “We also will have heavy enforcements in problem areas. These are areas where a volume of car accidents happen.”
Siebert said troopers are working hard to perform preventative maintenance. He urges all motorists to have their driver’s license and insurance ready when they encounter a checkpoint to ensure a swift encounter.
“Our job is to protect the good citizens of Pearl River County,” Siebert said. “When we find people that are not driving safely, we’re going to address that concern to keep everyone safe.”
The MDOT recommends putting a plan in place before going out, which includes designating a sober driver and calling a friend or family member or utilizing a community’s public transportation or taxi system.
“We want everyone to have fun while celebrating the new year with family and friends,” MDOT Executive Director Melinda McGrath said in a release. “The risks are not worth it, and the consequences of driving after drinking are serious. Making a plan before you celebrate is an easy, but effective, way to celebrate responsibly.”
MDOT would like motorists to keep the following in mind this New Year’s Eve:
– Buckle your seatbelt. It is the best defense against injury or death in a crash.
– Don’t drive distracted; concentrate on the road and surroundings.
– Slow down and pay attention to construction work zones and animals darting across roadways.
– Be aware of other drivers and don’t assume that everyone else is driving as safely.
For more information about MDOT, visit the website at and through Facebook, Twitter and YouTube at MississippiDOT.

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