Hundreds of law enforcement officials in Mississippi will be on patrol tonight, looking to keep drunk drivers off the state's roadways. MPB's Paul Boger reports officers and private organizations are doing everything they can to help Mississippians safely enjoy their New Year's celebrations.
Eva Becklelheimer is a paramedic in Jackson, and she has seen the results of drunk driving.
"Death probably has to be the worst thing." said Beckleheimer. "When it involves a child or a teenager or a young parents knowing that they got kids, all because somebody decided to get behind the wheel and drive drunk rather then pick up the phone and call somebody. Those have to be the worst, and to be working a scene and have the family find out and pull up on the scene and knowing that there is nothing you can do that has to be the worst."
It's those deaths law enforcement officials are trying to prevent. By adding highly -visible D-U-I checkpoints, and increasing the number of officers on patrol, police throughout the state are hoping to keep drunk drivers off Mississippi's roads.
Lt. Johnny Poulos is with the Highway Patrol. He wants Mississippians to stay safe.
"It's too easy to have a plan in place to know you want to go out and you know you want to drink have a designated driver in place to do that; where everyone can enjoy themselves, and everyone arrives home safely." said Poulos. "That prevents us from having law enforcement from having to go knock on a families door."
In addition to the increase in police, private organizations are banding together to offer free rides to party-goers. Jim Pollard is with American Medical Response in Jackson -- one of the organizations offering rides. He says it's about saving lives.
The ultimate concern here is to protect human life." said Pollard. "This is a preventive measure to help reduce the overall injuries to make a dent in this plague that DUI's remain in this society."
In 2012, 179 Mississippians were killed by a drunk driver.