Unfortunately, car accidents are a daily occurrence in the Magnolia State. According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, auto accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths in the state, and Mississippi has one of the highest per-capita traffic accident fatality rates in the United States.
In an instant, a serious car crash can turn your life upside down. A wreck may leave you facing high medical bills, pain and disability, and time away from work you cannot afford. If you’ve been hurt in a collision, you need an experienced attorney on your side.
The Oxford car accident lawyers at Roberts Wilson, P.A. are passionate about helping accident victims in our community and keeping our streets safe for our neighbors, friends, and family. We aren’t intimidated by big insurance companies who try to short-change the wrongfully injured. We will fight diligently on your behalf and pursue every penny to which you may be entitled under Mississippi law.
Top Causes of Mississippi Car Accidents
The following are some of the most common causes of car crashes in Mississippi:
According to its most recent “Stats and Facts,” the Mississippi Department of Transportation reported that in one recent year, 18 percent of all traffic deaths in the state were linked to drunk driving.
Whether under the influence of alcohol or drugs, impaired motorists are among the greatest threats to the safety of our state’s—and nation’s—roads. Drunk driving and drugged driving can significantly hinder a driver’s vision, judgment, and reaction time.
In Mississippi, a driver is considered legally drunk when:
- A non-commercial driver aged 21 years or older has a blood alcohol level of .08 or more
- A driver under the age of 21 has a blood alcohol level of .02 or more
- A driver of a commercial vehicle (including school bus drivers) has a blood alcohol level of .04 percent or more
When people choose to drink and drive, they put innocent lives at risk. If you or someone you love was injured due to the reckless decision of a drunk driver to get behind the wheel, you and your family deserve justice. An experienced car accident attorney can help you pursue compensation for your physical, emotional, and financial losses.
Distracted driving remains a leading cause of car accidents in our state. The Mississippi Department of Health estimates that three-quarters of adult drivers admit to talking on a mobile phone while driving and one-third report that they have read, written, or sent a text message while operating a vehicle.
While cell phone use is rightfully the most highlighted example of this dangerous practice, distracted driving involves any activity that takes your attention away from the task of driving. This can include cognitive distractions that take your mind off driving, visual distractions that take your eyes off the road, and manual distractions that take your hands off the wheel. Common causes of distracted driving include:
- Using GPS
- Talking with passengers
- Dealing with children and pets
- Adjusting audio or climate controls
- Eating and drinking
- Grooming and applying makeup
- Talking or texting on a mobile phone
When traveling at 55 mph, a distraction of only 5 seconds can take a driver’s attention away from the road for the equivalent of a football field. The lives of our fellow Mississippians depend on the commitment of every driver to allow zero distractions when behind the wheel.
An average of 76 people lose their lives every year in Mississippi due to speeding, according to a five-year average calculated by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
Speeding is a form of aggressive driving that can contribute to car crashes in several ways. Speeding can:
- Increase a vehicle’s stopping distance after an emergency situation has been identified
- Reduce the ability to steer around objects and curves
- Limit the effectiveness of seat belts, airbags, and other restraint devices
- Put drivers at greater risk of losing control of their vehicles
It is estimated that the risk of injury, disfigurement, or death doubles every 10 mph over 50 mph that a vehicle travels. Passenger vehicles that are involved in high-speed crashes face forces so intense that vehicles’ structures cannot resist the force of a collision and maintain survivable space for occupants inside. It is crucial for every driver to obey speed limits.
Any unsafe driving behavior, whether performed due to a disregard for safety or deliberately and with ill intention, can constitute aggressive driving. While speeding is one of the most dangerous types of aggressive driving, other examples include:
- Following too closely (tailgating)
- Erratic or improper lane changing
- Driving illegally on a median, sidewalk, road shoulder, or in a ditch
- Passing where prohibited
- Driving in a careless, reckless, or erratic manner
- Changing speeds suddenly
- Failing to yield the right of way
- Failing to obey traffic signs
- Failure to observe safety zone laws
- Failing to observe instructions or warnings on vehicles displaying them
- Failing to signal
- Making an improper turn
When aggression behind the wheel leads to either a threat of violence or an actual physical assault, it warrants more than a traffic ticket; it becomes a criminal offense. Road rage is one of the most extreme and deadly forms of aggressive driving. While it shares similarities with other types of aggressive driving, road rage is a criminal offense that occurs when drivers knowingly commit a traffic offense with the goal of assaulting or endangering someone with a vehicle or dangerous weapon or causing another person to be fearful of harm to their property or person.
Road rage can include dangerous behaviors such as:
- Shouting verbal insults
- Flashing obscene gestures
- Laying on the horn
- Using high beams to “punish” the other driver
- Aggressively cutting in front of drivers and slamming on the brakes
- Physically confronting and assaulting another driver
- Purposely crashing into another vehicle to run them off the road
- Using weapons to assault or kill another driver
While it is completely natural to experience feelings of frustration when driving, every driver has a duty to manage his or her emotions and not risk the safety of others on the road. If someone’s temper caused an accident, he or she should be held accountable for any subsequent injuries and losses. These types of cases can be very complex, and require the knowledge, skill, and resources of an experienced car accident attorney.
At Roberts Wilson, P.A., our car accident lawyers have been helping the wrongfully injured throughout North Mississippi for more than a decade. We know the tactics used by insurance companies to delay, devalue, and deny valid claims and we are committed to helping you recover the maximum compensation you need to move forward.
If you were hurt or lost a loved one in a car wreck, Roberts Wilson, P.A. wants to hear your story. Contact us online or at (662) 533-9111 for a free initial consultation. We proudly serve clients throughout Mississippi, including Oxford, Holly Springs, Batesville, Pontotoc, and all of North Mississippi.