The Mississippi Highway Patrol took a different approach this year in its holiday traffic safety campaign, and it appears to have paid off.
No lives were lost in crashes on state and federal highways over the Christmas holiday weekend, which started at 6 p.m. Friday and ended at midnight Monday.
But there was a fatal crash on Mississippi 67 at 5:45 p.m. Friday night, just before the enforcement period began. Jennifer Williams, 52, died when she crossed the highway and was struck by a truck on East Wortham Road.
The MHP’s traffic enforcement slogan, Making It Home For The Holidays, is state troopers’ wish for all motorists, Capt. Johnny Poulos said.
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“We took a different approach,” Poulos said.
“Instead of warning people we’re going to be out writing tickets and making arrests, we emphasized that we wanted everyone to be able to spend time with their families. To do that, we rely on the public to make good decisions.”
Three people died on highways around the state in Christmas crashes in 2016 and five died in 2015, plus three on local roads in D’Iberville and Saucier.
State troopers over this weekend investigated 157 crashes and reported 40 persons injured. In comparison, there were 141 crashes that injured 59 people over the Christmas holiday weekend last year, and 250 crashes with 91 injured persons in 2015.
“We saw a lot of traffic over the weekend, with lower fuel prices and good weather. To have a holiday weekend or any weekend with no fatalities is good news.”
“It says a lot for the officers out there working and for the motoring public.”
Troopers statewide issued 4, 226 citations and made 61 DUI arrests.
Troopers assigned to the Biloxi-based Troop K, the six southernmost counties, issued 431 citations and made nine DUI arrests. They also investigated 12 crashes, one of them alcohol-related, and reported one person was injured.
Troop C, a nine-county region based in Pearl, issued 906 citations, including 12 DUI arrests, the most in the state. That region also had 22 collisions and one injured person.
Interstate 10, which crosses the Mississippi Coast, and I-20, which crosses central Mississippi, are the most heavily traveled highways in the state and the locations of most crashes, Poulos said.
State troopers will also be out in full force over the New Year’s weekend holiday.
State troopers typically participate in nationwide traffic safety campaigns, such as Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over.
“Making It Home For The Holidays is something the Highway Patrol came up with because we want everyone to enjoy their family time and get where they’re going safely.”