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Drive safely, arrive safely this holiday

Drinking and driving is a dangerous mix that’s best avoided, law enforcement officers agree.

“Don’t drink and drive,” said Cpl. Brandon Fortenberry with the Mississippi Highway Patrol.

It’s an easily avoidable crime.

“If you’re going to drink, don’t drive,” he said. “And don’t text and drive.”

Bad weather leading up to the strike of midnight that ends 2018 will exacerbate the dangers of driving distracted. Showers off and on are expected through next week, which leads to wet roads and hazardous driving conditions.

Add to those drivers who may be inebriated or distracted, and it’s a recipe for disaster.

“New Year’s is always a dangerous time to be out, regardless of the weather,” he said.

Troopers will be looking for drivers who may be behind the wheel when they shouldn’t be, he said.

Deputies with the Lincoln County Sheriff’s Office will be patrolling also.

“If you’re going to be celebrating with alcohol, make sure you have a way home,” Sheriff Steve Rushing said.

And if you’re in the county, don’t carry alcohol in your vehicle. While it’s legal to buy and transport alcohol in the city, it’s not that way in the county, he said.

Both agencies plan to have extra patrols out on duty to keep Lincoln County safe.

MHP will begin the New Year’s enforcement period on Monday at 12:01 a.m. and it will conclude Tuesday at midnight.

“The ongoing MHP safety initiative ‘Making It Home for The Holidays’ continues to place emphasis on traffic safety regarding motorists traveling throughout the holiday season,” said Capt. Johnny Poulos, director of the public affairs division of the MHP.

During the 2017 period, MHP investigated 119 vehicle crashes including one fatality on state, federal highways and interstate systems.

“If plans include alcohol, please designate a sober driver before festivities start,” Rushing said. “No one should begin 2019 with being arrested, facing medical bills, legal fees, and perhaps losing their job. Responsible decisions ensure safe travel and allows everyone to enjoy time spent with family and friends.”