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Car Accident / April 15, 2024

Mississippi Ranks #1 for the Deadliest Roads in the Country

What Does This Mean For Drivers Across the State? 

Across the United States, millions rely on their cars to navigate daily life. But for residents of Mississippi, the simple act of driving can be a gamble. According to a 2023 report by the Associated Press, Mississippi holds the dubious honor of having the deadliest roads in the country. This isn't just a statistic. It is a harsh reality with devastating consequences for families across the state. 

Is there anything more painful than losing a loved one in a car accident that could have been avoided? Or seeing someone’s life changed irrevocably by injuries sustained in an accident? The dedicated legal team at Derek L. Hall Attorneys at Law understands the heartbreak that follows in the wake of wrecks. Learn more about the factors contributing to Mississippi's ranking, the human cost of these accidents, and potential solutions for a safer future against this troubling trend.

Factors Contributing to Mississippi’s High Accident Rates

Safe driving is a shared responsibility. By following traffic laws, avoiding distractions, and buckling up every ride, we can all contribute to a safer Mississippi. Unfortunately, this is not always a reality. But why is it so dangerous to drive around Mississippi? 

Attributing Mississippi's title of "deadliest roads" to a single cause is impossible. Instead, a complex web of factors weaves a dangerous landscape for drivers. 

High Speed Limits

Mississippi boasts some of the nation's highest speed limits, reaching 70 mph on rural highways, not just open interstates. While speed itself is not inherently dangerous, it significantly increases the severity of accidents.

Rural Roads and Limited Infrastructure

Many Mississippi roads lack shoulders, rumble strips, and median barriers, common safety features found on many other roads with high car accident risks. These safety precautions are extremely useful in keeping drivers aware of any drifting or dozing. 

Whether because of a lack of funding or infrastructure, not having these road safety elements certainly boosts Mississippi’s standing in the race for the deadliest roads. These missing elements make it harder for drivers to recover from mistakes or avoid collisions with oncoming traffic.

Distracted Driving

Nationally, distracted driving is a growing concern all throughout the country. Mississippi is no exception. Texting, talking on phones, and adjusting in-car entertainment systems all divert attention from the road, increasing crash risks.

DUI Rates

Mississippi consistently ranks high in DUI arrests. In 2022, the state reported 2.2 DUI arrests per 100 licensed drivers, exceeding the national average. Driving under the influence is a major factor in fatal crashes.

Poorer Vehicle Quality

Studies suggest that a higher percentage of vehicles on Mississippi roads lack basic safety features like airbags and anti-lock brakes compared to the national average. This can worsen outcomes in collisions and make it more difficult to prevent accidents in the first place. 

The Human Cost of Deadliest Roads

The human cost of Mississippi's dangerous roads is heartbreaking. Lives are lost, families are shattered, and futures are stolen.  Beyond the immediate tragedy, there is a ripple effect. Medical expenses, lost wages, and the emotional toll create a burden felt by entire communities.

While statistics can not capture the individual stories, they paint a grim picture. A 2023 report by 1-800-Injured, analyzing car accident data, flags Mississippi's troubling record as something that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. The state has the highest driver fatality rate in the nation, with 2.4 deaths per 100 million miles driven. That is significantly higher than the national average of 1.33.

What Are the Most Dangerous Roads in Mississippi?

While the entire state of Mississippi faces a higher risk of car accidents, some roads consistently see a higher number of crashes and fatalities. Knowing these particularly dangerous stretches can help drivers exercise extra caution.

  • I-20, Senatobia: Interstate 20 runs through the middle of Mississippi and is the location of many accidents. This roadway is more winding and narrow than many other local interstates and can catch drivers off guard. Though all of I-20 tends to be higher in car accident statistics, residents cite the Senatobia area as the most dangerous. 
  • US-98, Hardy St., Hattiesburg: This highway cuts through a busy urban area and intersects with exits from I-59 and another major highway, US-49. This confluence of high traffic volume and multiple access points creates a recipe for congestion and accidents.
  • MS-25, Lakeland Dr., Jackson: This road's danger lies in its transition between urban and rural environments. Drivers accustomed to high speeds on rural sections might misjudge the traffic flow in urban areas, leading to collisions.
  • MS-302, Goodman Rd., Memphis: This road carries a high volume of traffic and lacks proper shoulders or median barriers. This combination increases the risk of head-on collisions and makes it harder for drivers to recover from mistakes.
  • US-90, Bienville Blvd, Biloxi: While recording fewer crashes compared to others on this list, US-90 still poses a risk. The proximity to a tourist destination like Biloxi can lead to increased traffic volume and unfamiliar drivers on the road.

Charting a Safer Course for Mississippi Drivers

There is no easy fix, but several potential solutions can make Mississippi roads safer. Here are a few key areas to consider:

  • Reducing Speed Limits: Lowering speed limits, particularly on rural roads, can significantly reduce crash severity and fatalities.
  • Infrastructure Improvements: Investing in shoulders, rumble strips, median barriers, and better signage can create a more forgiving driving environment.
  • Increased Enforcement of Traffic Laws: Stricter enforcement of laws against texting and driving, speeding, and driving under the influence can deter risky behavior.
  • Public Awareness Campaigns: Educational campaigns promoting safe driving practices and the dangers of distracted driving can change mindsets on the road.
  • Improved Vehicle Safety Standards: Encouraging the use of vehicles with advanced safety features like airbags, anti-lock brakes, and lane departure warnings can make a difference.

Derek L. Hall Attorneys at Law: Here for You

At Derek L. Hall Attorneys at Law, we understand the devastating impact of car accidents. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident caused by someone else's negligence, we can help. Our experienced personal injury attorneys will fight to get you the compensation you deserve for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

While our legal expertise can help those affected by accidents, our ultimate goal is a safer Mississippi for all. We urge lawmakers, law enforcement agencies, and the public to work together to make Mississippi's roads safer.
Together, we can create a future where a simple drive doesn't become a gamble on life itself. Contact us today to speak with a professional about your case.

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Our Mississippi injury attorneys have the experience to fight for your best interests in and out of the courtroom and can get you more. Let us help you today.

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