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MHP holiday patrols start Friday night in Lincoln County

Mississippi Highway Patrol credited respectful drivers for the low number of accidents over Memorial Day weekend last year in Lincoln County. Only four minor crashes were reported.

The Memorial Day travel enforcement period begins Friday at 6 p.m. and continues until midnight Monday.

This year’s safety awareness initiative is being called “Drive to Survive.”

All available troopers will be assigned saturation patrols in an effort to maximize visibility and reduce traffic crashes, said Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry of MHP Troop M, which includes Lincoln, Lawrence, Pike, Franklin, Jefferson, Adams, Amite and Wilkinson counties.

This tactic of concentrating a large number of officers into a smaller geographic area is a method proven to reduce seatbelt violations and result in more arrests of impaired drivers, according to the University of North Carolina’s Highway Safety Research Center.   

Safety checkpoints will also be established to prevent impaired driving and promote seatbelt usage, he said.

“We just want to remind the public to drive sober, wear a seatbelt and watch your speed,” Fortenberry said.

During the 2016 holiday, MHP across the state issued 8,893 citations with 164 DUI arrests. A total of 132 crashes were investigated, including two fatalities and 49 injuries on interstates and state and federal highways.

In conjunction with the Click-it or Ticket campaign, 1,779 seatbelt citations were issued along with 99 child restraint violations.