Authorities looking to ensure safe holiday

Published 8:36 pm Friday, September 3, 2010

Nationally, there is a traffic fatality every 14 minutes, and atraffic-related injury every 13 seconds.

Of those fatalities, there is one alcohol-impaired drivingfatality every 45 minutes nationwide, according to statistics fromthe National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

And locally this Labor Day, law enforcement officials said theywill be looking to keep any Brookhaven and Lincoln County incidentsfrom adding to those national statistics.

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“The only advice I can give is we’re going to be out, lawenforcement is out,” said Brookhaven Police Chief Pap Henderson.”If you’re going to drink, have a driver. If not, you need towalk.”

Henderson said officers in the city will be doing their routinepatrols, but that they will, as always, have an eye toward keepingthe streets clear of dangerous drivers.

“I just want everyone to be safe this weekend,” he said.

Meanwhile the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Department will also havea few extra deputies on the road, said Sheriff Steve Rushing.

“We’ll be out in full shifts, with a few extra doing somedrivers license checkpoints,” he said.

And Mississippi Highway Patrol will be out in full force, saidTroop M Public Affairs Officer Staff Sgt. Rusty Boyd.

“We’ll be out there looking for impaired drivers and anythingelse we come across this weekend,” Boyd said. “If you’re drinking,be responsible and find a designated driver or call someone to comeget you, or stay at the location you’re at if possible. That ridehome if you’re driving drunk could be the last one.”

Boyd reminded drivers that getting busted driving under theinfluence causes trouble that simply starts with the expense ofgetting their car towed.

“Then you’re taken down and incarcerated, and there’s a bond youhave to post before you leave,” he said. “Plus most jails have atime limit that you have to stay just to prevent someone frombonding right back out and getting in a vehicle again.”

Once the accused inebriated motorist has bonded out, Boyd said,they’re facing the problem of a suspended license, court dates andenrollment in the Mississippi Alcohol Safety Program.

“If you’ve refused the test, your license is suspended 90 daysregardless of what happens in court,” Boyd said.

Insurance premiums will invariably go up with a DUI conviction,he said, and that can cause other problems in today’s economy.

“Then it’s on your record, and any employment you seek they maylook at your record and that could affect your employment status,”he said. “This day and time that’s a big deal, because there aren’ta lot of jobs out there.”

And meanwhile, there is always the ever-present danger ofcausing death from behind the wheel. Nearly 12,000 peoplenationwide during 2008 were killed in crashes involving drivers ormotorcycle riders who were over the legal limit, officialssaid.

“Just be safe,” Boyd said.

Rushing also added one other warning.

“We’ve had pretty good years the past few years,” he said. “Butalso remember it’s the opening day of dove season, so there will behunters out early on Saturday morning. Be aware of that in yourearly morning activities.”