Troopers focus on Miss-Lou travelers

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, November 27, 2013

NATCHEZ — Mississippi and Louisiana state troopers plan increased patrols throughout the Thanksgiving holidays, with discerning eyes toward those driving under the influence of alcohol and children traveling without being properly restrained.

Mississippi Troop M Public Affairs Officer Rusty Boyd said the Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol’s official holiday period starts at 6 p.m. today and runs through midnight Sunday.

“Local motorists can expect to see an increase in efforts by the highway patrol to locate violations that put drivers at risk on state and federal highways in the state,” Boyd said. “Being charged with a DUI is not only a burden on the individual but on family also. The cost of the fines and assessments along with higher insurance rates and the suspension period adds stress to the lives of all involved.”

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Boyd said Mississippi’s DUI blood-alcohol legal limit is .08 for those 21 and over and .02 for those under legal drinking age. Occupant and child restraint violations are also high on the priority list.

All front seat passengers, as well as every child under the age of 4 must be in a properly installed child restraint device, Boyd said. Every child under 7 who is under 4-feet, 9-inches in height or weighs less than 65 pounds, must be in a booster seat.

Louisiana State Police Trooper Brett Davis said, in an effort to reduce injury and fatal crashes, troopers will be focusing on seat belt use and looking for children not in appropriate child restraints.

“While not all crashes are survivable, seatbelts can greatly decrease the occupant’s chance of death and may greatly reduce the extent of injury,” Davis said. “According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Louisiana’s seat belt compliance remains under the national average at 82 percent.”

To report impaired drivers or unsafe roadway conditions in Louisiana, Davis said, dial *577 from a cell phone to reach the closest state police troop. Troopers will also be targeting aggressive and impaired drivers utilizing marked and unmarked patrol units.

“When you are caught driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you will be arrested,” Davis said. “There is a direct correlation between driving while intoxicated and speeding when related to traffic fatalities.”