Highway patrol looks for drinkers
by Courtney Warren
Dec 17, 2013 | 2129 views | 0 0 comments | 35 35 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Mississippi Department of Public Safety is participating in the "Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over" campaign again this year.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, "Each year more than 10,000 people die on the road due to drunk driving.

"In order to stop this deadly epidemic, law enforcement in every state and most U.S. towns and cities will be cracking down on drunk driving from Dec. 13 through New Year's Day.

"And they'll see you before you see them."

Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop D, which encompasses Bolivar County, along with the Mississippi Highway Patrols eight other districts statewide, have always been involved with "Drive Sober or Get Pulled over."

"Troop D in 2012 issued 1,528 driving under the influence citations and 43 felony DUI citations, which consists of 3 or more DUI convictions on that drivers record," said Public Affairs Officer Trooper Tony Dunn.

According to Dunn, Mississippi law requires a driver over the age of 21 to be under the limit of .08 present blood alcohol content to be able to safely drive a motor vehicle and .02 percent in under 21 year old drivers. 

After the recent Ethan Couch case in Texas, in which a 16-year-old was drunk driving, killed four and left one brain dead, and only received ten years of probation, Dunn feels this is exactly what the campaign was intended for.

"After reading a little about the Couch trial my feeling and opinion is that the driver involved got off scott free after taking four lives away and creating voids in the lives of families involved.

"This is exactly what this campaign is intended for—to find drivers that insist on going out drinking, having their fun, and then trying to drive themselves to other clubs, somewhere to get something to eat, or back home or wherever.  

"That's what we want to do is save lives out there. Until drivers realize that we as law enforcement officers around the country are not going to put up with drivers driving under the influence and ending innocent lives in their process of having a few drinks and driving themselves somewhere they will continue to do it.

"That is what this campaign is all about saving lives," said Dunn.

When asked about the possibilities of stressing to younger drivers the importance of not driving intoxicated and not riding with someone that is Dunn said, "Well just look at the Couch trial even though this driver received probation he has to deal with the fact he killed 4 innocent people.

"We lose young people everyday due to someone just having a good time and drinking a few drinks and then driving.

"Young people need to realize that alcohol is a drug. It may not be an illegal drug but it is a drug. It is a drug that can be highly addictive and once addicted to drinking it could ruin your or even some innocent life. Either you’re driving drunk and killing someone or that someone driving drunk is killing you.

"That's why we stress to young drivers the dangers of drinking and driving. The most important person in a vehicle when you are in it is you."

Dunn also said that during the holiday season there is an increase in in drinking and driving accidents and more arrests for drinking and driving.

"I feel maybe because of off time from work or school and the time that we want to spend having parties, fun, and get-togethers with our friends and family."  

Dunn explained that in order to prevent yourself and others from driving buzzed/intoxicated it is important to stay responsible and plan ahead.

"The best way is just not to drink or if you must drink designate a driver for the night and make sure he or she will be responsible for you and your party.

"If you do drink and drink to much call a cab or a friend or even call your local law enforcement.

"You know they will probably rather take you home than you cause a bad accident because guess what? Then they will have to investigate that bad accident. I'd say they would rather take a 10 minute ride to carry you home than a two hour investigation scene any day!"