Holiday travel starting

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 23, 2010

NATCHEZ — As Christmas and New Year’s get closer, more and more people are packing up and hitting the road to celebrate the holidays.

With more motorists on the road, state and local law enforcement agencies are sending more troopers out to keep the Miss-Lou’s highways clear of any danger.

“During the holidays you have a lot more motorists traveling to visit families and friends,” Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M Public Affairs Officer Rusty Boyd said. “This means a lot more traffic on the highways, everyone needs to use caution.”

Email newsletter signup

Boyd said cracking down on impaired drivers is the number one priority for the MHP.

“We are going to be looking for anyone who is impaired due to alcohol, drugs or any substance that would impair a person’s ability to drive,” he said.

Boyd said during Christmas time, people tend to drink more because they are celebrating.

“People go from one party to the next, and they get a few drinks here and there,” he said. “Once they have had a few to drink, their ability to think rationally starts to diminish, and they get on the highway.”

Concordia Parish Sheriff Randy Maxwell said all drivers need to remember that they risk impairment when they consume any alcohol or drugs.

“The Concordia Parish Sheriff’s Office wants to get the word out that impaired driving is a violent and, all too often, deadly crime that we can’t afford to overlook in our community,” he said. “It’s vital that (motorists) have a designated driver if they plan to drink alcohol during the season’s festivities.”

Both Boyd and Maxwell said their agencies will also intensify enforcement of speed limits, child passenger safety laws and seat belt laws.

Both agencies will be prosecuting impaired drivers, and ticketing traffic violations in full force, so Maxwell said drivers need to be sure to obey the laws.

“We’re sincerely hoping that the holidays are joyous for our community, not tragic,” Maxwell said. “And this can happen if everyone takes the time and effort to buckle up, watch the speed limits and allow for winter road conditions wherever they travel.”

Boyd said the increase in the number of troops during times of a high traffic volume yields positive results that improve our safety on the highways.

“Our fatalities are down, and our DUI arrests are up,” he said. “We are on the right pace.”