Help your friends, family, stop drunk driving

Published 7:00 am Thursday, December 15, 2016

Christmas is known for being merry and bright, but it’s also one of the most dangerous times of the year to be on the road.

Many people will be traveling to visit loved ones for the holidays.

For some, that drive is a mere 20 minutes or less, but for others, it can be hours of windshield time until reaching their destination.

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With increased traffic comes increased risk of a motor vehicle accident.

In the state of Mississippi, 49 fatalities occurred during the holiday season last year.

Law enforcement agencies across the nation are participating in the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over enforcement period to take drunk drivers off the roads from mid-December to the New Year.

Law enforcement officers work harder during this time of year and work longer hours to keep everyone safe. However, law enforcement cannot catch everyone, which is where the community needs to step in.

The first rule of consuming alcohol is to drink in moderation. The second is to always be responsible.

If you are with family or friends and someone in your group decides to get behind the wheel after drinking, don’t be afraid to speak up.

Chase Elkins, Mississippi Highway Patrol public affairs officer, said it perfectly from a law enforcement perspective, “I’d rather get called for a fight than a fatality.”

He also said that in a motor vehicle accident caused by an impaired driver, the driver under the influence sometimes walks away from the crash.

Meanwhile, the occupants of the other car usually sustain serious injuries, and sometimes die.

When you decide to not drink and drive, you save lives. The decision to drink and drive can negatively impact entire families.