Mississippi Highway Fatalities
A chaotic scene ensued after a number of vehicles were involved in a significant collision on U.S. Highway just south of Scooba in June 2019. Several individuals were injured, and transported via ambulance or helicopter to nearby hospitals. More sobering is the news that three individuals from three different vehicles died on the scene.
Mississippi Fatality Statistics
Tragically, the incident near Scooba is not an isolated event. The fact is, studies point to Mississippi as the state that leads the nation in highway fatalities, and it has been in the lead for nearly two decades. In 2017 alone, nearly 700 people were killed in crashes. That number is double the national average. And the costs are staggering. In addition to the significant impact on families and loved ones, the state itself loses over $850 million annually as a result of medical costs and lost productivity.
Why Such Devastating Numbers?
Without doubt, there is no single reason for the high rate of traffic fatalities in the state, and no silver bullet to address the problem. But one National Safety Council statistics manager, Ken Kolosh, notes that there are two basic categories into which issues can be divided: problems that can be controlled, and those you cannot.
The central problem that cannot be controlled is the rural nature of the state. Half of all people in Mississippi live in rural parts of the state, in fact. Studies indicate that roadways in rural areas are more dangerous nationwide, simply because they tend to be more narrow, with fewer traffic signals, and with higher posted speeds than you typically see in urban areas. Furthermore, patients typically need to be transported farther to receive medical care. While rural roadways account for half of all traffic fatalities nationally, the rate in Mississippi tops 95 percent.
With such dangerous road conditions, the things that Mississippi can control, then, are traffic laws, and the enforcement of those laws. In recent years there has been some effort on this front, with stricter seatbelt laws and texting bans, along with a law lowering the standard blood alcohol level to .08 percent. Even so, there are a lot of improvements yet to be made. Some issues that still need to be addressed with more vigor include:
- Requiring rear facing car seats for very young children;
- Requiring older children to ride in booster seats;
- Making changes in teen driving laws, including:
Having restrictions on driving after dark;
Changing the age at which teens can obtain a learner’s permit;
Requiring an appointed number of supervised driving hours prior to getting a license.
Following an Accident
At the office of Derek L. Hall, PC, our Jackson personal injury attorneys deal with the aftermath of fatal accidents on a regular basis. If you have lost a loved one in a serious highway collision, our hearts go out to you. But as is so often heard these days, thoughts and prayers are not enough. Our heavy hitting team will pursue legal avenues to address the devastating financial losses associated with fatal accidents. Schedule a free, confidential consultation in our office today.