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Mississippi Traffic Fatalities on the Rise

Biloxi Car Accident Attorney

For a few decades, Mississippi residents were able to feel safer, albeit slightly, as they traveled down state roads and highways. Indeed, data provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) showed a steady decline in traffic fatalities across the state, with 949 in 2000, down to 582 just 12 years later. This decrease was the result of a variety of factors, including an increased emphasis on safe driving and wearing a seatbelt while riding in a car, among others.

Unfortunately, however, the trend has begun to shift upwards, putting Mississippi drivers at a greater risk of a fatal accident each time they get behind the wheel or ride as a passenger. To be sure, the same statistics provided by the NHTSA show that the number of fatalities stopped decreasing in 2012, and instead crept steadily upwards, reaching 677 in 2015, and 690 in 2016.

Sadly, this means that after a period of increased safety while driving, Mississippi residents must once again remain extremely vigilant each time they take to the highways. But what exactly is the cause of this recent increase in traffic fatalities across the state? And is there anything that Mississippi drivers or passengers can do to protect themselves on roads and lower their chances of being involved in a wreck?

Technology is a Likely Cause Behind the Increase in Traffic Fatalities

Ultimately, one of the most powerful forces behind this acceleration in the number of traffic fatalities in Mississippi over the past few years is the recent rapid development of technology, and, more specifically, handheld devices such as cellphones and tablets. Whereas these gadgets were virtually non-existent 20 years ago, and even a decade ago were not entirely ubiquitous, now they are seen in the pockets and hands of nearly all individuals across the state of Mississippi. And, unfortunately, while handheld devices have helped improve our ability to communicate with the rest of the world, they have endangered the lives of far too many drivers and pedestrians.

How, exactly, do cellphones and tablets put us in danger each time we get on the highway? Take, for example, one of the simplest acts in which many of us engage on a regular basis: texting. While texting may seem harmless in general, when performed behind the wheel it can lead to catastrophe. Consider information provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which claims that, on average, sending or reading a text message takes your eyes off of the road for about five seconds. While this may not sound like a very long time, when traveling at 55 miles per hour in a car, you will cover the distance of an entire football field without looking at the road in front of you.

It’s important to note that texting is not the only form of distracted driving in which a driver can engage. Indeed, distracted driving any distraction behind the wheel, and includes the following three types:

  • Visual: taking your eyes off the road;
  • Manual: taking your hands off the wheel; and
  • Cognitive: taking your mind off the task of driving.

This means that any activity that leads to these types of distraction can be truly dangerous. Texting while driving is considered one of the most egregious offenders since it encompasses all three types of distracted driving in one single activity.

Stay Safe and Contact a Mississippi Attorney if You Have Been Injured

In general, the best way to stay safe while behind the wheel on Mississippi highways and roads is by putting out of reach anything that could be considered a distraction. To be sure, this includes cellphones, tablets, and other electronic devices; however, drivers should also consider avoiding changing the radio, eating, dealing with pets and children, and doing anything else that could be distracting.

However, while you may be able to control your actions while driving, you are still at the mercy of other drivers. But if you are injured in an accident in Mississippi, we can help. At the Gardner Law Firm, P.C., we have significant experience assisting accident victims recover the compensation that they deserve for their injuries. We serve clients in Biloxi, Pascagoula, and Hattiesburg; don’t hesitate to reach out to us today for a consultation on your case.

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