Graduates urged to be safe
by Paisley Boston
May 22, 2014 | 1822 views | 0 0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print
High school graduates will be embarking on new chapters of their lives over the next few weeks.

With graduation, sometimes comes parties and with parties sometimes comes drinking.

Public Affairs Officer Trooper Tony Dunn said he, along with other troopers, encourages graduates to have fun but they want them to be safe while doing it.

Dunn said there are a few graduations occurring this weekend along with Memorial Day and this could be a recipe for disaster if individuals do not conduct themselves properly.

"We understand that individuals want to have fun but we also want them to be safe while doing it. Memorial Day is one of the largest holidays when people like to drink and drive," said Dunn.

Dunn also said he knows that graduation is a special time because in most cases this is the last time that some individuals are going to spend with people that they have developed relationships with during their high school years.

"We discourage underage drinking but if they end up in situations that cause them to drink, we hope that they remain at one designated area or have a designated driver. If we pull someone over that is underage and they have been drinking, they will be processed just as an adult," he said.

"We strongly discourage underage drinking but if individuals end up in situations that cause them to drink, we hope that they remain at one designated area or have a designated driver. People, who choose to drink, need to remain in a place where they should remain all night. They need to be at a place where they can be watched and monitored," added Dunn.

"We know some people do it anyway and there are consequences behind it. We definitely do not want anyone who has been drinking to get behind the wheel of a vehicle," he continued.

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

Dunn said 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. 

"Our main focus is to keep everyone safe when they are traveling. Underage drinkers have not even had their driver's license but a few years and when you throw drinking and driving in the mix with someone who has not had their license long this could be awful," said Dunn.

He also said if he pulls an individual over for underage drinking there are some serious consequences.

"We will do a sobriety test. The legal underage drinking limit for teens is .02 – this is the no tolerance level for individuals underage. If you just take a sip of a beer, this is equal about .02," said Dunn.

"Underage drinkers will have to post a bond. If the individual is under 18 then they will be spending the night in jail and if they are 17 and under, they will go to juvenile detention," he continued.

"We want people to have fun but please do not drink and drive. People can have fun without drinking period," he said.

Dunn said he also encourages individuals to not be on their cell phones or eating while driving because these things can be a distraction and cause individuals to not focus on the road.

"Seatbelt safety is also important. We definitely encourage everyone, especially young drivers, to wear their seatbelts because it may save their lives if they are in a roll over accident or in a crash in general," Dunn added.

"Over the last few months we have had several accidents to occur and people were not wearing their seatbelts. If they would have been wearing them, they would not have been seriously injured. We had a few people to lose their lives as a result of not wearing a seatbelt," he continued.