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Brookhaven, Lincoln County law officers promote road safety

When one thinks of New Year’s Eve, one likely envisions a cork flying across a crowded room. And, no doubt, there will be plenty of champagne flowing Sunday night when midnight strikes in Lincoln County.

That being said, responsible drinking is vital to road security year round, and it is especially important as the holiday season winds down.

So, in order to help keep roadways safe for New Year’s travel, local law enforcement will increase patrols Dec. 31 and Jan. 1.

Mississippi Highway Patrol Troop M plans to extend its “Making It Home For the Holidays” initiative until the end of the year.

Between Dec. 22 and 25, the troop made a total of 387 traffic stops in its jurisdiction, and, during that same period, no alcohol-related collisions occurred in Lincoln, Lawrence or Franklin Counties.

While state troopers keep a vigilant eye on main highways, city police will scour the streets in town for reckless drivers.

“I want all our citizens to be safe, but, if you’re drinking and driving, you can wind up hurting yourself or others,” Brookhaven Police Chief Kenneth Collins said.

The BPD will be out in force over the weekend, and motorists should expect increased, citywide traffic monitoring.

Collins said instances of drunk driving typically swell in December, and he urges the public to stay on guard as 2017 draws to a close.

“The holidays are a happy time, but, for a lot of people, it’s also a stressful time,” he said.

Ingesting alcohol fundamentally impairs a person’s capacity to safely operate a motor vehicle, and Collins hopes locals will stay off the road after drinking.

“If you’re going to drink, make sure you do it somewhere you won’t have to leave,” he said.

In conjunction with city police, the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office also intends to heighten New Year’s Eve patrols.

“I don’t have exact numbers, but there is usually a slight increase in drinking and driving around the holidays,” Sheriff Steve Rushing said.

Deputies will make extensive rounds Sunday night, keeping careful watch over the county’s busiest thoroughfares.

Whether you have one drink or 10, it is wise to pause and assess your condition before getting behind the wheel of a car. And, if you suspect your motor skills are at all weakened, get someone you trust to take you home.

Otherwise, the consequences might be fatal.

“Of course, we always encourage the public to not drink and drive,” Rushing said. “So, if you plan on drinking, make sure you have a designated driver to bring you home.”