Many people find that when their car door closes, and they hunker down for a car trip - whether it’s their morning commute or that hibachi food run - it’s time to catch-up on phone calls. Let’s catch up with grandma or your parents, or maybe your best friend. With busy days, it’s easy to see why many people want to use their spare driving time as phone chatting time, but is driving while on the phone illegal in Mississippi? We’re here to tell you.
The texting ban
In 2015, texting became illegal to text and drive. Mississippi became the 45th state to ban texting and driving when it was signed into law by Governor Phil Bryant. House Bill 389 stops drivers from writing, sending, or reading text messages when driving as well as reading emails, and social media messages.
Until July 1, 2016, breaking the law would come with a $25 fine, and after that period, the fine is now raised to $100.
Those who drive school buses are not allowed to use a cell phone at all whilst driving children to and from school.
Those in favor of the bill have noted that the ban has prevented deaths.
What about phone calls?
The House Bill 389 stipulated that making and receiving phone calls is still legal. So, is driving and talking on the phone illegal in Mississippi? The short answer is no it is not. The longer answer is, it’s a bit of a legal gray area in that driving when talking on the phone
Erm, but what about distracted driving?
So, whilst talking on the phone and driving in Mississippi is not technically illegal, the Mississippi State Department of Health’s page has “Tips for Phone-Free Driving” and it recommends drivers do not make on answer phone calls when driving.
Plus, distracted driving accidents are some of the most common causes of traffic accidents in the US. Talking on the phone using a hand-held device would be considered both a cognitive and manual distraction, even talking hands-free is still a cognitive distraction - and may even be a visual distraction if you glance at the screen when answering.
Since distracted driving causes car accidents - nearly 3,500 people every year are killed because of it - the question may be are tougher laws needed to combat distracted driving?
Mississippi issues fines for anyone caught distracted driving, so driving while talking on the phone is one of those legal gray areas. Is the actual act illegal? No. But driving distracted is illegal, and since talking on the phone is a distraction, that makes it illegal to talk on the phone by default.
Have you been involved in a car accident caused by distracted driving?
If you think you’ve been involved in a car accident with a distracted driver, then contact Coxwell & Associates today for your free case consultation.
We have over 36 years of experience winning cases. We are here to listen to you and guide you through the claims and legal process.
Disclaimer: This blog is intended as general information purposes only, and is not a substitute for legal advice. Anyone with a legal problem should consult a lawyer immediately.