Stay safe and pursue happiness

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 4, 2015

Don’t drink or text and drive

As our community settles in today to shoot fireworks, eat unbelievable piles of food and celebrate this great country, let us not forget our rights and the rights of others.

The three inalienable rights spelled out in the Declaration of Independence are “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.” Not that any of these include the right to make a fool of oneself, to drive drunk or distracted or to recklessly discharge fireworks or a weapon while celebrating at 3 a.m.

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Certainly one is free to choose to engage in those activities, but that’s not what the pursuit of happiness is all about. In fact, those aforementioned activities will probably lead to a pursuit of another kind.

Law enforcement agents in Vicksburg and Warren County will be out in full force for this holiday weekend. The Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol also announced that it has drastically increased its presence on state and federal highways over the long holiday weekend. As usually during a holiday weekend, drunk drivers beware.  You drink and drive and you will get caught and spend the night in jail.

In addition to drunks, all three law enforcement agencies will be on the lookout for people violating one of Mississippi’s newest laws.

“With the new texting and driving Law that is now in place, we are encouraging drivers to change driving habits that could put themselves or other motorists at risk. Our main concern is in what manner the vehicle is being operated, therefore, careless and reckless driving laws will be enforced by MHP,” Mississippi Highway Safety Patrol spokesman Lt. Johnny Poulous said.

The penalty for texting while driving will be a $25 fine for the first year the law is in effect and $100 after.

“It will save many lives. It was everything that we needed,” state Rep. Oscar Denton said. “If we can bring awareness and make driving a whole lot safer, then it is absolutely necessary. I wanted to make driving safer in Mississippi.”

Pay attention, watch the road and make it home to talk about the city’s beautiful fireworks display. Vicksburg has seen too much tragedy in the past few weeks, so it is certainly not time for another.