MDOT urging motorists to stay safe on roads on New Year's

(The following is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.)

JACKSON, MISS. – The year is coming to an end, giving people more reason to celebrate with friends and family. While everyone has their sights on ringing in 2020, the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) urges all motorists to have a New Year’s resolution of no drinking and driving.

“MDOT’s goal, no matter what year it is, remains the same – zero fatalities from drunk driving,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT Executive Director. “Driving while under the influence of alcohol puts everyone on the road at risk. Protect yourself and your loved ones by always avoiding alcohol when you drive.”

Every holiday party starts with planning, and MDOT wants you to apply that same mindset before getting on the highway. If you decide to drink, plan ahead to have a sober ride home. It is illegal to drive with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .08 or higher. However, even small amounts of alcohol can impair a person’s ability to drive. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately one-third of all traffic crash fatalities in the United States involve drunk drivers.

Here are some tips from MDOT that can help motorists arrive at their destination safely:

• If you drink alcohol, do not get behind the wheel for any reason. Make sure you have a designated driver or a taxi to take you home.

• Hand your keys over to a trusted friend or family member at the beginning of the night before the first drink. This removes any temptations of thinking you are okay to drive.

• Avoid all distractions. Concentrate on the road and your surroundings.

• Be aware of other drivers. Don’t assume everyone is driving as safely as you are.

• Impaired drivers are not only a danger to themselves, but also to other innocent drivers on the road. If you suspect someone is driving drunk, call the police when it is safe to do so.

“Being safe this New Year’s Eve and making it to the next year—can be as simple as being responsible and making good decisions," said McGrath.

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