JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) – Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) leaders are encouraging neighbors to practice safe and sober driving in the new year.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that on average, 10,000 people are killed in drunk-driving crashes each year.

MDOT leaders offer these tips that can help drivers arrive safely to their destinations:

  • If you drink alcohol or are otherwise impaired, do not get behind the wheel for any reason. Make sure you have a designated driver or taxi to take you home.
  • Hand over 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 other innocent people on the road. If you suspect someone is driving impaired, call police when it is safe to do so.

“Driving while under the influence puts everyone on the road at risk. Protect yourself and your loved ones by avoiding impaired driving and having a plan for a sober ride,” said MDOT Executive Director Brad White.