The Mississippi Highway Patrol is aiming to saturate the highways with troopers through the holiday weekend.

The stepped-up New Year’s patrolling began on Thursday and ends at midnight Sunday.

Local officers will have an eye out for impaired motorists, as well.

“We ask everybody to be safe if you’re going to drink and make sure you have a designated driver or call a cab,” said Police Chief Ralph Dance. “Use good judgment is all we’re asking.”

MHP will have all available troopers in service to increase visibility of law enforcement and promote safe travel. Speeding, seat belt violations, distracted and impaired driving will all be targeted, according to MHP, which will conduct safety checkpoints.

Last year’s enforcement period had 158 crashes with three fatalities and 184 DUI arrests on state and federal highways. Last week’s Christmas enforcement period saw one fatal crash.

For those engaging in some holiday merriment, the Mississippi Department of Transportation recommends handing over the car keys to a trusted friend or family member at the beginning of the night before the first drink.

While driving, MDOT encourages motorists to avoid all distractions and to be aware of other drivers – do not assume that others are driving safely.

For those hitting the road this weekend, gas prices are trending downward after setting a new high for Christmas Day, according to the gas price service GasBuddy, with prices down 1.1 cent per gallon from last week and 10.1 cents per gallon from a month ago.

Staff Writer

Jebb Johnston is a 1991 Alcorn Central High School graduate and a 1995 Ole Miss journalism graduate. His primary beats are city and county government.

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