MS drivers concerned for safety as 2014 approaches - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

MS drivers concerned for safety as 2014 approaches

(WMC-TV) – The holidays have already proven deadly on Mississippi roads this year, with four people killed in accidents on state highways.

As many drivers hit the road to come back home and others get ready to ring in 2014, some of your biggest dangers may not be what you think.

Christmas has already come and gone, but the traffic hasn't.  Drivers, like Pearl resident Casey Dabbs, are concerned.

"There's just a lot going on, and people are just so busy this time of year, they're not really focused. One-track mind," said Dabbs.  "The other day, I was coming home from work.  There were like three wrecks in not even a half-mile span.  And the police are just sitting on the road, making sure people know that they're there to pay attention, because there's so much going on."

Already, four people have died during the Christmas holiday on Mississippi highways.

Three of those four deaths involved alcohol, but Lieutenant Johnny Poulos says that's not their biggest problem.

"That makes it all the more important for us to get the message out to the public when it comes to safe driving and making responsible decisions," said Poulos.  "We made 33 DUI arrests statewide. That is all nine districts, okay?  In a four-day period.  In that distracted driving campaign that we conducted last week in Jackson on I-20, in a five-mile stretch, in an hour and a half, we made 42 stops."

Lt. Poulos says that points to how widespread distracted driving is, yet the stigma associated with it isn't nearly as negative as getting a DUI and he says that's part of the problem.

"When you knock on someone's door and you're telling them that their loved one is not coming home, it really doesn't matter if their loved one was killed by an impaired driver or a distracted driver.  It really doesn't make any difference to them.  The bottom line is that a loved one is not coming home."

The holiday weekend runs through New Year's Day at 11:59 p.m.

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