Be careful on this holiday

Published 11:08 pm Friday, September 1, 2017

Labor Day marks the official end of summer throughout the country and that means increased traffic on highways.

The Mississippi Highway Patrol announced Thursday that Friday evening through midnight Monday will mark the Labor Day Travel Enforcement Period. Drivers can expect to see increased patrols on highways throughout the state and safety checkpoints to ensure drivers and passengers are wearing their seatbelts and that no one is driving impaired.

MHP reported that during the 2016 Labor Day weekend, officers worked 170 traffic accidents including one fatal accident.

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The increased enforcement by MHP is designed to make people think twice before speeding, driving impaired, not wearing their seatbelt or being reckless on the roads. The responsibility falls on the drivers themselves, though, to make sure they and their passengers, as well as other drivers on the road, are safe.

When traveling this weekend, make sure everyone in the vehicle is wearing a seatbelt. A new state law requires all passengers, including those in pickup trucks, to be wearing seatbelts and the driver is liable for any passengers found to be in violation.

If you are planning to drink alcohol over the weekend, plan ahead with a designated driver, a taxi or a rideshare via Lyft or Uber if they are available in your city. Planning ahead is the easiest way to ensure you and other drivers on the road arrive home safely at the end of the night.

“Our goal is to ensure the safety of the motorist passing through and traveling in the state of Mississippi and also to have zero fatalities,” MHP Public Information Officer Eric Henry said in a release. “We are also having zero tolerance on drinking and driving.”

MHP also recommends that drivers check their wiper blades and tires before leaving due to the potential for inclement weather over the weekend.

When you make the decision to drive recklessly or impaired, you put not only your own safety and life at risk, but that of other drivers and passengers on the road with you.

“We’re hoping all motorists and families will enjoy the last holiday weekend of the summer and arrive at their destinations safely,” MHP director of public affairs Johnny Poulos said in a release.

Drive safe and have a good Labor Day.