Rural roads can be treacherous, but that just means that they require more caution than more urban roads when you drive. Mississippi has mostly rural roads, but unfortunately, some drivers are more reckless than others and break a ton of traffic laws. In fact, 63% of fatal car accidents in our state are on rural roads, as reported by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
It might not be well known, but Mississippi is the deadliest state to drive a car. Mississippi has the highest fatality rate for traffic accidents at 26.27 deaths per 100,000 population, which is about 13 deaths higher than the national average, according to the National Safety Council. Even though there are laws in place to make traffic move more smoothly and safely, drivers still break the law every day. Some of the traffic laws that are most commonly broken in Mississippi are:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Not wearing seat belts
Drunk driving is one of the most commonly broken traffic laws in Mississippi. State law says that any driver with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of or above .08% is considered impaired and cannot legally drive their car. According to Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), drunk driving fatalities account for 18% of all traffic fatalities in the state.
In our state, the rate of drunk driving related deaths is higher than the national average, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Citations and arrests for DUIs have dropped in the past years, which correlates to an increase in drunk driving fatalities because the drivers have not been taken off the streets. If you drink, don’t get behind the wheel. Calling a designated driver saves lives.
Just as dangerous as drunk driving, distracted driving is common in Mississippi. MDOT says that drivers who use hand-held devices while driving are four times more likely to get into a serious accident. Even though there are laws prohibiting texting and driving, only 5 citations were issued per 100,000 population, according to Mississippi Today.
The problem is that the law only bans texting and browsing the web on a handheld device. Since it doesn’t ban all use of a handheld device, it’s nearly impossible for officers to enforce. Drivers who are pulled over can say they were doing something that was allowed on their phone, and the officer has no way of proving they weren’t, so they have to let them go. Since the driver doesn’t get in trouble, they will probably keep doing what they were doing.
Not Wearing a Seat Belt
On top of drunk and distracted driving, another traffic law that Mississippi drivers break is not wearing their seat belts. Mississippi law states that every driver, passenger, and child under 18 must wear a seat belt. MDOT reports that only 78% of Mississippians in cars always wear their seat belts, which is about 15% below the national average. This happens even though a primary enforcement seat belt law for front-seat passengers was passed in 2006. That means that drivers can be pulled over just because they weren’t wearing a seat belt. They don’t have to commit any other traffic violation to be pulled over.
Other than breaking the law, not wearing a seat belt is incredibly dangerous in the event of a car accident. The National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) reports that in 73.5% of fatal accidents, occupants were not wearing their seat belts. Even though some collisions are so bad that wearing a seat belt won’t help, in most cases, wearing a seat belt is the difference between life and death.
When you get into a car wreck that wasn’t your fault, you might feel lost. You could have serious changes in your life, like debilitating injuries, loss of a loved one, huge medical bills, or lost wages from the inability to work. You deserve compensation for all of the hardships your accident brought you. A car accident lawyer from Pittman Roberts & Welsh, PLLC will fight for justice and ensure that you get the money that is owed to you. Contact us today for a free consultation so we can start helping you with your claim, and so you can start focusing on recovery.