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Hernando Legal Blog

The top causes of car wrecks

While a Mississippi car wreck can have a variety of causes, simple human error is the most common reason. Distracted driving is one danger that has become more and more widespread due to advances in phones and other technology. Even more basic activities like eating, drinking and conversing with passengers can constitute a distraction.

Impaired driving is another common factor. This includes driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, prescription drugs and even some over-the-counter medicines. Drivers might also have medical episodes like stroke or heart attack that lead them to crash. If drivers do not think of the risk factors, they may not be entirely freed from blame for such episodes.

Speeding can be deadly on the roads

People in Mississippi and across the country continue to face serious risks on the road due to excessive speed. In fact, speeding drivers are a factor in nearly 33 percent of all fatal motor vehicle accidents, according to a report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA). Despite the fact that speed takes thousands of lives every year, speeding is commonly accepted on the roads and is not met with the public revulsion that accompanies drunk or distracted driving.

The report aims to analyze federal and state policies that could affect the number of crashes caused by speeding. The executive director of GHSA emphasized the goal of reaching zero traffic deaths and the importance of addressing the speeding epidemic in making the roadways safety. Speeding drivers can be especially dangerous in the case of bicycle or pedestrian accidents due to the relative lack of protection for these victims. Pedestrians and cyclists are more likely to suffer serious injuries or even deaths in car wrecks.

Study says distracted drivers are using phones in riskier ways

Many drivers in Mississippi use their phones to talk while driving. Since this compromises one's ability to process what they see ahead of them, it constitutes a distraction. Unfortunately, though distracted driving rates have not changed much, drivers are now using their phones in riskier ways. This was the conclusion of a recent report from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The IIHS looked at two observational surveys, one from 2014 and one from 2018, of drivers in four Northern Virginia communities. These drivers were observed as they approached and stopped at red lights. The study found that the drivers in 2018 were 57 percent more likely to use their phones for something other than talking. This includes texting, sending emails and surfing the web. Since these actions take a driver's eyes off the road, they pose a greater threat.

What to do to avoid drowsy driving

Drivers in Mississippi may find themselves feeling drowsy on the road despite their best intentions. That's why it's important to follow a few tips to avoid fatigue. The best way to prevent sleepiness behind the wheel is to get the recommended minimum of seven hours of sleep every night. Those who do so but still have problems should see a doctor because they may have a sleep disorder.

Individuals who take certain prescription and over-the-counter drugs, such as antidepressants, antihistamines, blood pressure medications and sleep aids, will want to time their dosages just right so that they are not driving drowsy. A doctor could adjust the regimen for them.

Multiple people die in highway truck crash

It is important for both truck and passenger car drivers to protect their safety while on Mississippi roads. An accident that occurred on Interstate 75 in Florida was caused by a commercial truck driver colliding with a Honda. This was according to the Florida Highway Patrol, and there was no reason given as to why the driver left his lane. After colliding with the Honda, the commercial truck crashed through a median.

It then collided with a passenger van as well as another commercial vehicle. The 59-year-old driver of the truck that started the chain reaction of collisions died. The same was true of the of 49-year-old driver of the other commercial vehicle involved in the incident after his truck caught fire. There were 12 people in the van, and five of those passengers passed away. They were all children younger than 14.

How truck and car crashes differ

There are several ways that a Mississippi truck accident differs from a car collision. Starting with the most obvious, truck accidents tend to result in more severe property damage and physical injuries. The weight of a commercial truck being so great, the force of its impact will often leave a passenger vehicle beyond repair.

Victims may be left with catastrophic injuries, mental trauma and short- or long-term disabilities. This leads to the third difference, which is higher medical costs. It will take longer for victims to recover, and they may even require disability leave. Another clear difference is that truck crashes more frequently result in death. This often leads to the filing of wrongful death lawsuits.

Can stricter DUI laws cause fewer car wrecks?

Alcohol-related car wrecks can be very serious and sometimes fatal. In pursuit of lowering deaths caused by those who are driving under the influence (DUI), some people want to place heavier restrictions on drivers’ blood alcohol concentration (BAC).

For example, Utah recently became the first state to implement a BAC legal limit of 0.05 percent on drivers. The law went into effect the day before New Year’s Eve, which was likely not coincidental considering the high number of DUIs on that night.

Trucker fatigue can be deadly

Mississippi citizens benefit from the services provided by the nation's truckers. Literally running 24/7 to deliver products across the country, truck drivers and the trucking industry form an important part of the American economy. Like any business, however, there are challenges to maintain performance standards while attempting to expand market share and increase profitability. One such challenge for the industry is truck driver safety. Not only is this relevant to a business' bottom line, but it also impacts motorists who share the roads.

Highway safety experts report fatalities from truck accidents have been on the rise over the last several years. Due to the sheer mass and momentum created by a large semi traveling at highway speeds, it is not surprising that these vehicles can cause catastrophic accidents. Similarly, the statistics back up what seems obvious -- trucker fatigue is a major cause of truck accidents. However, in attempting to combat fatigue, some truckers are creating an even greater hazard.

Dump/ready-mix concrete delivery truck accident rates edge up

In recent years, there have been several efforts made to use technology and increased awareness of driver fatigue to reduce truck-related accidents in Mississippi and throughout the rest of U.S. Truck drivers are also now required to electronically log their hours. However, accidents involving dump trucks and ready-mix concrete delivery trucks are still on the rise. The number of dump truck accidents involving serious accidents spiked nearly 3 percent, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMSCA).

Towaway truck wrecks involving ready-mix concrete delivery trucks jumped even more, increasing by nearly 10 percent. FMSCA reports that accidents of this nature resulting in injuries increased by almost 4 percent in 2016, the latest year with statistics available. Fatal Ready-mix concrete truck accidents are also continuing to climb. The one bright spot with these stats is a slight decrease in fatal dump truck crashes in 2016 compared to what occurred the year prior.

Law Office of George B. Ready
175 East Commerce Street
Hernando, MS 38632

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