The greatest tragedy of most motor vehicle deaths is that they could have been prevented. While statistics tell us how many car accident fatalities happen in Mississippi each year, these numbers can never convey the devastation each family experiences when a loved one is lost.
The Jackson personal injury law firm of Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC advocates for victims of Mississippi motor vehicle crashes involving wrongful death. If you have questions regarding a motor vehicle collision in which you or a loved one were involved, please contact our office to schedule a free case evaluation.
Mississippi Fatal Car Accident Statistics
In 2020, the most recent year of study, Mississippi had the highest traffic accident fatality rate per 100,000 people. Our state topped the list with 25.4—compared to the national average of 11.7 deaths per 100,000 population, according to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
This equated to 687 crashes resulting in 752 fatalities during the year of study.
Mississippi also ranked second highest (following South Carolina) in deaths per 100 vehicle miles traveled. Mississippi saw almost two deaths for every 100 million miles driven, while the lowest ranking state saw only .63 fatalities per the same number of miles traveled.
Looking over the numbers, it is hard not to be discouraged by how many car accident fatalities happen in Mississippi. And the alarming reality is that these numbers seem only to be moving in the wrong direction. The Mississippi Highway Safety Improvement Program’s most recent annual report provides a wider view of the upward trends in traffic fatality and injury rates that our state, like much of the rest of the nation, has experienced over the past several years.
- Compared to a low of 582 deaths in 2012, annual motor vehicle deaths in Mississippi have exceeded 660 every year since 2015.
- Serious crash injuries surged from 633 in 2014 to 1,618 in 2019.
What Causes Fatal Car Accidents in Mississippi?
Car accident fatalities happen whenever a person chooses to operate their vehicle in a dangerous manner. Some of the top causes of fatal car accidents in Mississippi include:
- Speeding or driving too fast for conditions
- Impaired driving (including alcohol, prescription medication, marijuana, or illicit drug use)
- Texting and driving
- Mobile phone use
- Distracted driving
- Reckless driving
- Aggressive driving and road rage
- Running red lights or stop signs
- Violating traffic laws
- Wrong-way driving
- Fatigued driving
- Inexperience among teen drivers
Factors That Increase the Likelihood of a Fatality in a Crash
There are certain factors that make a death more likely in the event a crash occurs. They include:
Seat Belt Use
The Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT) determined that one out of every two people killed in a Mississippi car accident was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Mississippi has one of the lowest rates of seatbelt use in the United States. Statistically, over 90% of Americans wear a seatbelt. But only 77.9% of people in Mississippi buckle up each time they get in a vehicle.
Driving too fast not only increases the probability of a crash. It also significantly impacts how severe a crash will be if it happens. The faster a vehicle is traveling, the greater the chance a driver, passenger, or pedestrian will be killed. For over 20 years in the U.S., speed has been a factor in roughly one-third of all motor vehicle deaths, according to the NHTSA.
Drivers under the influence of alcohol put themselves and others at high risk of a serious accident. Impaired drivers are more likely to speed, ignore traffic signals, misjudge distances, fail to brake when needed, fall asleep at the wheel, and drive in the wrong direction of traffic. All these behaviors are known to cause some of the most fatal types of vehicle accidents. MDOT estimates show that close to 20% of all motor vehicle deaths in Mississippi involve alcohol.
A teen or novice driver has not developed the skills, knowledge, and muscle memory to react quickly and effectively to a potential hazard. To compound the issue, drivers, and passengers under 19 are among the least likely to wear a seatbelt—and among the most likely to engage in distractions such as texting and driving, loud music, or conversations with other vehicle occupants. Based on MDOT statistics, 21% of teen drivers involved in fatal crashes were distracted by cell phones. Across the country, approximately one out of three deaths among youth aged 15 to 19 is the result of a motor vehicle collision.
Contact Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC for Expert and Caring Legal Representation
After learning how many car accident fatalities happen in Mississippi, it is easy to see why protecting the families of crash victims is such an important part of what we do at Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC. Our car accident attorneys fight hard to right the injustice that happens when one person decides to engage in an act of negligence, recklessness, or carelessness that kills another.
At the same time, we commit our practice to educating and spreading awareness about the dangers of risky driving. Each case we take is an opportunity for our lawyers to prevent similar instances of wrongdoing from happening again in the future. All of us have a responsibility to keep Mississippi’s roads safe for everyone. When someone chooses to ignore that responsibility, we stand up for those hurt as a result.
If you were injured or lost a close family member in a car accident in Jackson, MS, we are ready to meet with you. An attorney from our legal team is available for a free consultation to discuss your rights and legal options. We have experience in wrongful death cases and accidents involving motorist negligence. We will be able to answer any question you have regarding avenues for recovery.
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