New MHP public safety campaign: Pay Attention or Pay a Fine

Pay attention or pay a fine
Pay attention or pay a fine(Photo Source: WLOX)
Updated: Oct. 9, 2018 at 4:17 PM CDT
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JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - So far this year, more than 1500 crashes have occurred on the Mississippi Gulf Coast. More than 600 of those accidents happened in Jackson County alone. Thirty-four people have died.

State troopers are hoping to reverse the trend with a new Mississippi Highway Patrol public safety campaign.

“We’re starting it in Troop K in the lower six counties of the state just due to the numbers of crashes that we have. Troop k leads the state,” Capt. Johnny Poulos reported.

He says that people don’t drive the way they should.

“Fifty-seven percent of American drivers do not use their turn signal when changing lanes. This is a huge problem when it comes to merging. People that just merge without looking in their mirrors or using their turn signals,” he said.

Poulos added other things motorists take for granted behind the wheel.

“One of the most neglected pieces of safety equipment in a vehicle is the rear-view mirror along with the side view mirror. People do not utilize this equipment when changing lanes,” he said.

One trouble spot is Washington Avenue in St. Martin where 146 crashes have happened so far in 2018.

“One of the big issues we have is people stopped at red light. People not paying attention. We have rear-end collisions. That’s the majority of the crashes that we investigate on Highway 609." Poulos recalled.

“If a group of cars are traveling 85 miles an hour on the interstate, most people are going to drive 85 miles per hour until they see that law enforcement officer there. Then of course, everyone slows down.”

But the worst danger, by far, is that device you hold in your hand all the time, according to Poulos.

“People don’t associate the cell phone with loss of life in traffic crashes. But now it is a major contributing factor. We have to change that mentality,” he said.

The goal of Pay Attention or Pay a Fine is a simple one.

“This is not about how many citations can be written. This is about saving lives. This is about partnering with the motoring public, so we can bring these number of crashes down.”

The Pay Attention or Pay a Fine campaign runs through the end of October. And you can be sure you’ll see an increased law enforcement presence on the roads of South Mississippi during the next three weeks.

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