Mississippi's highways were once patrolled by lawmen such as Joe Gazzo and Richard Smith of the Mississippi Highway Patrol. Sadly, those days are gone.
Driving on the highways in Mississippi is now similar to traveling the highways in a "Mad Max" film.
Having another driver pass by at an extreme speed was once so unusual that a person would discuss the event when they arrived at their destination. Having another driver pass at speeds of 90 or 100 mph is now as common as the multicar wrecks that cause stretches of the interstate to be closed every few days.
For several years now, the Mississippi Highway Patrol is almost never seen writing tickets for speeding. The troopers quickly respond to accidents and carry out those duties professionally, but it appears the agency has surrendered the highways to survival of the luckiest.
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Here are some suggestions for the governor and the state legislators to help restore some law and safety to the highways:
-- Allow the state's police departments to use radar for speed control on all roads and highways within the counties they serve.
-- Transform the Mississippi Highway Patrol from a patrol organization to an investigative agency. The state could save the money being spent on a mission the troopers are no longer performing.
-- Change the penalties for driving at extreme speeds. A violator should face progressively harsher penalties for these offences similar to the penalties for driving under the influence.
Bay St. Louis