(The following is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Transportation.)
JACKSON, MISS. –Cookouts, parades and local fairs are just a few ways that many will choose to celebrate Memorial Day. The Mississippi Department of Transportation’s (MDOT) top priority is to keep motorists safe and informed while providing efficient roadways for summer travel.
“Mississippi has a lot to offer and MDOT hopes many will take advantage of their Memorial Day weekend by exploring new places or returning to favorite scenic routes, all the while making wise choices,” said Melinda McGrath, P.E., MDOT Executive Director.
Memorial Day marks the beginning of summer travel season for many people. According to AAA, more than 41.5 million Americans will travel this Memorial Day weekend, up nearly 5 percent from last year. With more vehicles on the road, it is important to be patient and drive smart.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), 94 percent of crashes are caused by human error. One of the most important safety steps drivers can take is simply slowing down and paying attention.
In 2016, there were 690 traffic fatalities in Mississippi. Speed was a factor in 12 percent of traffic fatalities, and alcohol was a factor in nearly 20 percent. Distraction was cited in over half of all fatal crashes involving teens. Half of the people killed in crashes last year were not wearing their seat belt. To ensure everyone arrives safely at their destinations, motorist should: • Obey all speed limits and signs, especially through work zones. • Always wear a seatbelt. • Never get behind the wheel under the influence of alcohol or drugs. • Use your cell phone for emergency situations only.
MDOT offers free resources to help the traveling public know about current road conditions. MDOTtraffic.com and the MDOT traffic mobile app help travelers plan their next road trip. The resources share constant updates on Mississippi roadways and also show the locations of rest areas and welcome centers throughout the state.
MDOT also has information for drivers to take action and do their part to help reduce the number of fatal crashes in the state. The website www.GoMDOT.com/DriveSmartMS includes videos that teach drivers how to navigate work zones and intersections, drive in severe weather and use highways safely.
Beginning Saturday, May 26, and ending Tuesday, May 29, MDOT will not issue any permits for oversize and overweight vehicles on all state and federal highways for Memorial Day weekend.
“Our top priority is the safety of traveling public, especially during the upcoming holiday weekend,” McGrath said. “Prohibiting oversize loads during the holiday is one more way MDOT is working to increase the safety and efficiency of Mississippi’s highways for motorists.”
For real-time highway updates and more summer travel safety information, like and follow @MississippiDOT on Facebook, Twitter, SnapChat and other social media platforms.