Getting involved in a car accident in Mississippi is more likely a question of when, not if. According to the most recent crash statistics available, Mississippi recorded the highest fatality rate of car accident deaths per 100,000 population in all of the United States. This included one of the highest numbers of teen car accident deaths in the country. If you have been involved in an auto accident in Mississippi, speak to the Gulfport car accident attorneys at Morris Bart without delay to discuss your legal options.
Mississippi’s Alarming Number of Traffic Accidents in 2021
In 2021, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) reported that Mississippi had a fatality rate of 26.2 deaths per 100,000 population, making it the deadliest state in the country. Mississippi had a total number of 772 deaths in 697 fatal car accidents. This was the equivalent of 1.89 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled, which placed Mississippi behind only South Carolina (with a rate of 2.08 deaths per 100 million vehicle miles traveled).
A press release from TRIP, a national transportation research nonprofit, stated that an analysis of Mississippi traffic fatalities from 2019 to 2022 found an increase in 2020 in 2021, followed by a slight decrease in 2022. Overall, the number of traffic fatalities increased by 8 percent from 2019 to 2022, while the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled increased by 9 percent.
In 2022, 696 traffic deaths were reported in Mississippi by the Federal Highway Administration. This was a decrease from 772 deaths in 2021 and 748 deaths in 2020, but an increase from 642 deaths in 2019. According to data collected in 2021, the highest number of fatal car accident victims were car occupants (313) followed by pickup and SUV occupants (268).
Mississippi Leads the Nation in Teen Fatal Car Accidents
The American Automobile Association (AAA) found that Mississippi was ahead of all other states in the summer of 2020 in terms of teen-related fatal car accidents per capita. According to AAA, nearly 40 percent of fatal teen-driver accidents in Mississippi occurred in the time period from Memorial Day to Labor Day. This placed Mississippi high on the list of states with the most teen driver deaths in this time period; it was outpaced only by Tennessee, Alabama and Texas. Cell phone use was the main culprit behind fatal teen car accidents.
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What Are Common Causes of Mississippi Car Accidents?
Identifying the most common causes of deadly car accidents in Mississippi can help drivers avoid collisions. Keeping up with the latest car accident statistics and crash causes in the state could keep you and others on the roadway safe. Driver negligence, or the failure to use proper care, is the number one cause of car accidents in Mississippi. Examples of preventable driver errors include:
- Drunk driving
- Distracted driving
- Cell phone use
- Unsafe lane changes
- Violated traffic laws
- Failure to yield the right-of-way
- Drowsy driving
- Reckless driving
- Inexperienced drivers
In addition to common driver errors, Mississippi is known for having dangerous roads that increase the risk of automobile accidents. Mississippi has winding rural roads that often contain hazards such as potholes, fallen trees and loose gravel. The IIHS reported 459 traffic accident deaths on rural roads in Mississippi in 2021 (59 percent) compared to 234 deaths on urban roads (30 percent).
Most Dangerous Roads for Drivers in Mississippi
While a serious or deadly car accident can take place on virtually any road in Mississippi, certain streets and routes in Mississippi see more automobile accidents than others. This can occur due to road conditions, the presence of defects or hazards, and issues such as inadequate lighting or dangerous road design. Some of the most dangerous roads in Mississippi are:
- US-98 and Hardy Street in Hattiesburg
- MS-25 and Lakeland Drive in Jackson
- MS-302 and Goodman Road in Memphis
- US-90 and Bienville Boulevard in Biloxi
- US-45 in Meridian
- US-49 in Hattiesburg
- US-51 in Jackson
Research has found a heightened risk of driving in Mississippi compared to other states due to having to operate a vehicle on rural terrain and hazardous roads. A lack of law enforcement monitoring of rural roads can lead to greater crash risks, including drunk drivers and other drivers breaking the law, as well as delayed responses in traffic emergencies.
Tips for Avoiding Car Accidents in Mississippi
Statistically, you are more at risk of getting involved in a car accident in Mississippi than in most other states in the U.S. However, there are steps that you can take to reduce your risk of being injured in a motor vehicle collision in Mississippi. Here are a few tips for safer driving practices:
- Pay attention to the road. Never drive while distracted. Put your cell phone away or in driving mode to avoid this common driver distraction.
- Obey traffic laws. Even if you are on a rural road that has low police supervision, obey speed limits and other traffic signs for safety reasons.
- Reduce your speed. Speeding decreases the likelihood that you will be able to react correctly to changing roadway situations, such as braking in time to avoid hitting a stopped vehicle.
- Do not drink and drive. Consuming even a small amount of alcohol reduces your reaction times and can lead to poor decision-making behind the wheel.
- Look out for dangerous conditions. Scan the road in front of you for defects or hazards, including potholes, crossing animals and loose gravel. Report any issues you discover.
If you are injured in a car accident, pull over, stay at the scene and report the crash to the police. Check yourself and others involved for injuries and get medical care right away. Exchange information with the other driver involved. Take photographs before you leave the scene. Then, contact a car accident attorney for assistance with the insurance claims process.
Who Pays for a Car Accident in Mississippi?
Mississippi is a fault state for automobile accidents, meaning the driver or party who is found to be at fault for causing the crash is responsible for paying for the damage. If you get involved in a car accident in Mississippi despite your best efforts to avoid a crash, consult with the car accident lawyers at Morris Bart for information about your legal rights.
You may be able to recover financial compensation for your medical bills and property damage from the at-fault driver or another party. Our lawyers can help you file a claim and seek fair financial compensation from one or more insurance companies. Contact us today.
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