Meridian Star

August 31, 2013

MHP to target drunk drivers

Special to The Star
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —

Mississippi troopers will be out in force over the Labor Day weekend targeting drunk drivers.

For the eleventh year, the Mississippi Department of Public Safety is participating in a national initiative targeting the removal of impaired drivers from the roads and highways of the state.

“Consistently, 30 percent of all fatal automobile crashes in Mississippi are alcohol-related,” said Public Safety Commissioner Albert Santa Cruz. “That number is too high and we will be out in force to remove the impaired driver from our roadways during the up-coming Labor Day Holiday weekend.”

The Department of Public Safety, through its Division of Highway Safety, has distributed federal grants to pay overtime to put additional officers on duty to arrest drunk and drugged drivers. The “Driver Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign is a two-week, high-visibility enforcement period began today Friday, Aug. 16 and will continue through the Labor Day Weekend. The enforcement blitz is coupled with an advertising campaign in an effort to raise awareness of the dangers of impaired driving.

“During last year’s Labor Day Holiday weekend, 34 people died in vehicle crashes and of those 11 were alcohol-related fatalities,” said Mississippi Highway Patrol Director Colonel Donnell Berry. “And even though we target impaired drivers every day, from now until after the holiday we are serving notice that we will put great emphasis on locking up drunks.”

State and local law enforcement agencies are banding together during the “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” campaign. Authorities stress the blitz is not about writing tickets but saving lives.

“Research shows campaigns such as ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ are effective,” said Office of Highway Safety Director Shirley Thomas. “The motoring public should know if they drive impaired, they will be caught and arrested.”

Since 2007, there has been a reduction in the number of fatalities in Mississippi by nearly 40 percent. Last year, the state recorded its lowest number of fatalities in more than 60 years.

For more information about “Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over” visit the Facebook page at:  MS Drive Sober