Checkpoints will be looking for DUIs

Published 7:00 am Friday, July 3, 2015

Local law enforcement agencies are implementing checkpoints across the county in preparation for the Fourth of July weekend beginning today.

In order to keep roadways safe, deputies from the Pearl River County Sheriff’s Department plan to conduct checkpoints until Sunday, day and night, Lt. Joe Quave said.

At the checkpoints, deputies will be looking for signs of impairment, invalid driver’s licenses and equipment violations, Quave said.

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Deputies are also enforcing the new law banning texting while driving in the state of Mississippi, which went into effect Wednesday.

The new law bans drivers from operating a motor vehicle while texting or using social media sites on a hand-held wireless communication device, according to previous Item coverage.

“We encourage motorists not to be driving distracted, that includes texting and using social media,” Quave said.

The Picayune Police Department is also conducting checkpoints until Monday at various locations within the city, Assistant Chief Jeremy Magri said.

“We will have extra patrol officers patrolling the streets to ensure the safety of the citizens,” Magri said.

On a state level, 48 new Mississippi Highway Patrol troopers who recently completed their field training will help conduct checkpoints statewide from 6 p.m. today until Sunday at midnight.

“We will have a bunch of new troopers out at these checkpoints this weekend so there will be much more enforcement of the laws,” said Cpl. Benjamin Seibert, with Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop K.

The new state troopers graduated from the 20-week Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol academy in March, according to previous Item coverage.

Law enforcement officials also plan to put an end to drunk driving. They encourage people to assign a designated driver if they plan on drinking.

“We want people to have a good time but a safe time,” Magri said.

Between 2009 and 2013, approximately 750 people died in crashes involving drivers with a blood alcohol content of .08 or more during the Fourth of July holiday, according to a Mississippi Department of Transportation press release.