By NATHAN GREGORY
In order to best facilitate traffic and ensure streets stay safe for motorists as they travel during the holiday season, city, county and state law enforcement units are stepping up their manpower in highly traveled areas in and around the Starkville area.
According to statistics provided by the Mississippi Department of Public Safety, the month of December saw more automobile accidents than any other month in 2008, 2006 and 2005 in the state.
Starkville Police Department Master Sgt. and DUI specialist Shawn Word said in an effort to ensure every measure is taken to prevent accidents, drivers should expect to see an increased presence of city law enforcement as they travel in and out of Starkville over the next several weeks.
“We’re participating in the ‘Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over’ campaign, which started Dec. 15 and runs through Jan. 10,” Word said. “This is a campaign for law enforcement to keep drivers safe. It is a nationwide event, but we push it hard in Mississippi.”
He said more officers will be patrolling bypasses and conducting roadblocks to monitor the high volume of traffic circulating as a result of people traveling to see their families during the holiday season.
“There will be extra overtime details that will be done, and officers will be working to keep motorists traveling at the correct speed limits,” he said. “We want people to be wearing their seat belts and remembering not to drink before driving.”
Oktibbeha County Chief Deputy George Carrithers said roadblocks will also be set up around the county to maintain a safe environment for motorists.
“We’re going to be doing roadblocks in different spots all over the county and we’ll have more (deputies) working like we always have,” Carrithers said. “We want people to have a good time for the holidays and into the new year. If (people) are going to drink, we want them to make sure someone else is driving.”
He said residents should think before getting behind the wheel if they’ve consumed alcohol of any volume.
“If people are going to go to parties they need to have a designated driver or stay at the house where they’re partying because if they get behind the wheel and cause an accident it can ruin things for everybody else,” he said.