Mississippi Highway Patrol officials said all available manpower will be utilized during the Thanksgiving holidays on all state, federal and interstate systems to combat drunk and drugged driving, reckless driving, speeding and distracted driving issues.
Safety checkpoints will be conducted to enforce child restraint and seatbelt laws while also removing impaired drivers.
During the 2019 Thanksgiving holidays MHP officers investigated 185 crashes with 10 fatalities.
During the 2020 Thanksgiving holidays MHP officers investigated 246 motor vehicle crashes which included 52 injuries and six fatalities. Officers statewide also issued 5,922 citations which included 115 DUI arrests, 371 seatbelt citations and 53 child restraint citations.
MHP's District Four, also known as Troop F, includes Pontotoc and eight other Northeast Mississippi counties.
Troop F Captain Chad Moore said that as of November 15 there have been 27 highway fatalities reported in District Four this year.
“Our goal is not to have even one fatality, so this year has been far too deadly already,” Moore said. “Thanksgiving is for giving thanks and enjoying family and we don’t want an officer to have to go notify a family that a loved one has been killed in an accident.”
“We’re going to have extra officer on the road before, during and after Thanksgiving Day in an effort to help make it safer for motorists to visit their loved ones,” Moore said. “Our number one goal is to get everyone there safely and get them back home safe and sound.”
“Pay attention to the road,” Moore stressed. “Put a seatbelt on everyone in the car, put that cell phone down and keep your mind on driving and all the other cars. That cell phone causes the vast majority of our highway accidents because of distracted drivers.”
The Thanksgiving holiday enforcement period will officially begin on Wednesday morning, November 24, and expire on Sunday, November 28, at midnight.
“We’re still not up to full capacity in terms of manpower but we’ll have everyone we’ve got out working the highways during Thanksgiving,” Moore said. “We’ve added new troopers from the training schools, but other folks are steadily retiring.”
Moore encouraged drivers to obey all posted speed limits and allow extra time to reach their destination.
“No one ever needs to be speeding, but especially during the holidays when the highways and interstates will be filled with even more travelers,” Moore said.
Capt. Moore said that drivers can dial *HP to report speeding or impaired drivers and to request for officer assistance in case of a breakdown or emergency.