$62K spent to curb New Year's drunk driving in Mississippi - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

$62K spent to curb New Year's drunk driving

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Although Mississippi's death rate from alcohol related crashes has been cut in half since 2007, Strain says the 149 deaths from last year are still far too many and the number of DUI arrests show efforts to curb the crime are never ending. Although Mississippi's death rate from alcohol related crashes has been cut in half since 2007, Strain says the 149 deaths from last year are still far too many and the number of DUI arrests show efforts to curb the crime are never ending.

During the transition into 2013, Mississippi Highway Patrol Troopers were out with their eyes open for anyone suspected of being drunk behind the wheel.

"People who typically don't go out and have a drink or two and drive, may do that over the course of the New Year's holiday because there is such an association with this particular holiday with partying and celebrating and using alcohol," said Warren Strain with the Department of Public Safety.

Strain says DPS spent a $62,000 federal grant to put an additional 168 troopers on the road. Although Mississippi's death rate from alcohol related crashes has been cut in half since 2007, Strain says the 149 deaths from last year are still far too many and the number of DUI arrests show efforts to curb the crime are never ending.

"Over the course of the past 10 years, there's been an average of 30,000 DUI arrests in Mississippi per year. That's 82 DUI arrests a day," said Strain.

To officers that's potential deaths and injuries prevented. When a crash does happen, emergency crews say it has ripple effects.

"The most difficult thing to watch is the learning to walk again, learning to talk again, the effects of learning to live again after you've been affected by drunk driving," said Jennifer Stephen, clinical director of Batson emergency services.

As party goers prepare to toast the New Year, Strain says personal responsibility makes all the difference.

"It's a lot less expensive to get a cab than it is to get a lawyer," said Strain.

Various roadblocks are slated to be set up across the Jackson metro area and across the state. As of Tuesday morning, there were 135 DUI arrests and two alcohol related crashes since Friday evening.

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