Police step up enforcement for holiday season

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 24, 2009

NATCHEZ — As family and friends come home for the holidays, Miss-Lou law enforcers are hoping to see responsible driving and less traffic violations and accidents.

“We’re going to have extra patrol out,” Vidalia Chief of Police Ronnie “Tapper” Hendricks said.

Hendricks said local motorists will be seeing an influx of vehicles, accidents and violations with holiday travelers coming into the area.

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“They did a study on Carter Street, and they estimated there are about 35,000 vehicles that flow through Vidalia on any given day,” Hendricks said.

Vidalia officers on patrol will be watching out for people driving under the influence and endangering those in the vehicle and on the road with them.

“Most people traveling are going to have their children with them, and we encourage everyone to have their children buckled up and in a car seat,” Hendricks said.

“I’ve got one of my officers who looks for that, and he’ll get you if you don’t have your kid in a car seat.”

Adams County Sheriff Chuck Mayfield said drivers should remember more than the basic rules for safe driving.

“Make sure your cell phones are charged — just in case your children may need you when they come home from (college.) They can call for help when they have a problem,” Mayfield said.

“Plan ahead if you are going to an area where there is bad weather. Plan for delays. Put provisions in the car just in case, like warm clothes.”

Natchez Police Chief Mike Mullins said one of the best ways to remain safe is to be a defensive driver.

“Expect the other driver to do the wrong thing,” Mullins said. “If your light turns green, that doesn’t mean go. That means you have the legal right of way if the section is clear. Prepare to stop if they don’t.”

However, all three law enforcement officers said basic rules of the road — go the speed limit and buckle up — are still the easiest ways to remain safe and avoid tickets.

“The biggest thing is to not drink and drive,” Mayfield said. “We’re going to be rough on that.”

Hendricks said if holiday drinking is the order of the night, finding someone to ride with is the safest solution.

“And if you are local and within the (Vidalia) city limits and need a ride, call us. We’d be more than happy to help you.”