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Mississippi Lawyer Blog

What is Distracted Driving? The Mississippi Laws

Distracted driving accounts for 10 deaths and 1,000 injuries each day in the U.S. and is an ever-pressing epidemic, nearly as fatal as drunk driving.

Fatalities from “distraction-affected” incidents have increased each year since 2015, including in Mississippi, despite the laws we have in place. Because of miscategorization, distracted driving deaths are sometimes underreported. We’ll cover exactly what distracted driving is and its worrying future.

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The Different Forms of Distracted Driving

Distracted driving is the act of driving while engaging in other activities. It can be split into three different types of distractions behind the wheel - which are: 

  • Manual Distractions
  • Visual Distractions
  • Cognitive Distractions

Manual Distractions

Manual distractions can be classed as any activity that removes your hands from the wheel, whether this is to respond to a text message or configure your GPS. All manual activities should be done before putting the key in the ignition. If that can’t be done, you should find a suitable, safe place to pull over.

Visual Distractions

Visual distractions are defined as anything that takes away your vision from the road. This can be as little as looking at another passenger or focusing on your GPS system. That being said, the latter example is often debated heavily given the proposed use of the device yet it’s legally sold and allowed.

Cognitive Distractions

The most debatable of the three is cognitive distractions, which is classed as any task that may take your mind off the road. This can extend to daydreaming and even mentally trying to recall something. You shouldn’t be thinking about anything with such focus other than the road in front of you.

The Importance of Distracted Driving Awareness

The United States’ roads stretch for approximately 5,830,947 miles, and every single inch of them is prone to an increase in distracted driving. For a fatality to occur at the hands of distracted driving, there doesn’t need to be any more than a few split-seconds of distraction, whether this is on a freeway or open road.

When put into perspective, studies find that the average time of distraction that occurs is five seconds. If you’re travelling at 70mph on a four-way highway in Mississippi, you’re on track to drive over a mile a minute; that’s the equivalent of four running tracks. Would you do that blindly? Most likely not.

Despite this, distracted driving poses a threat to not only other road users but also cyclists and pedestrians too. When this is partnered with the discovery that approximately 666,000 drivers are using cell phones or electronic devices behind the wheel, the seriousness begins to show. If that’s not enough, a study of 2,300 by Everdrive found that the average driver is on the phone for 0.4 miles for every 11 miles driven.  

The Worrying Future of Distracted Driving

The figures speak for themselves - there is an upward trend in incidents which is only matched by an increase in road users year-on-year. As the average driving age becomes younger, (as shown by the fact drivers in their 20’s make up 27 percent of distracted drivers in fatal crashes) the fear of missing out, socially, is greater than ever.

The urgency to reply to messages is perceived of utmost importance by this younger age range. Over 20 percent of those surveyed admitted to feeling the need to respond right away - as a poll carried out by Everquote discovered.

Zendrive carried out a huge survey of three million anonymous drivers who collectively covered 5.6 billion miles. They found that on average, drivers use their phones 88 percent of the time.

Taking your eyes off the road for just two seconds makes it 20 times more likely that you’ll have an accident. Mississippi, which doesn’t currently prohibit cell phones while driving, was actually ranked the second-worst state for distracted drivers in Zendrive’s findings.

It’s universally agreed that drink driving or driving under the influence of drugs is reckless, irresponsible and dangerous. Currently, there isn’t the same stigma when it comes to distracted driving. Many of us still take our eyes off the road to see what that latest notification was on our cell phones.

Until distracted driving is socially unacceptable, there will still be avoidable accidents and rear end collisions. It doesn’t have to be a large crash for there to be serious consequences that can leave those involved with injuries and long-term financial problems. If you’ve been involved in a car accident as a result of a distracted driver, then we can help.

Have You Been Affected by Distracted Driving?

Coxwell & Associates has an experienced team of attorneys that can help you if you’ve been affected by distracted driving. You deserve compensation for any hospital bills, vehicle damage and loss of earnings you may have suffered as a result of an accident.

We’ve been representing Mississippians for the last 35 years, making sure they receive the compensation they deserve. Use the link below to see if you’re eligible for a free case consultation.

Car Accident Worksheet CTA

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.

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