Mississippi Roadways Named Nation's Deadliest
The Mississippi Highway Patrol recently reported that the state saw only one fatality during the busy, and usually deadly, Fourth of July holiday weekend. The state’s Highway Patrol spokesman Ray Hall said that one 56-year-old man from Canton was killed in a one-car accident near Camden. Apparently the man lost control of his van and ran off the road, hitting a pole.
The lack of fatalities can, at least in part, be credited to the zealous enforcement by state police agencies. Over the holiday, Hall says state troopers issued some 3,227 traffic citations, arrested 95 drunk drivers and made 4 felony arrests. Over the same period he says state troopers also investigated 47 traffic collisions which thankfully did not result any fatalities.
Though this one busy summer weekend seems to offer good news for drivers across the state, a recent report from the Trust for America’s Health should give serious cause for concern to those stepping behind the wheel of a car in the state. The Washington, D.C. based group says that Mississippi’s lax drunk driving and child-safety laws have contributed to the state earning the distinction as having the nation’s most automobile-related deaths.
The organization used data from the Centers for Disease control gathered
over a span of 3 years and found that Mississippi’s automobile death
rate is 26.7 per 100,000 drivers, the highest in the country. The group
launched the survey to help bring awareness to the dangers of driving
and emphasize that nationwide more people between the ages of 5 and 34
are killed in crashes than by any other cause.
The report is titled “Investing In America’s Health,” and says that Mississippi had the 19th highest number of auto fatalities, coming in at 784. The damage was not limited to loss of life, but hit the state hard in the wallet, as $823.5 million in statewide economic productivity was lost due to work loss associated with Mississippi car wrecks.
The report gives the state credit for having a primary seat-belt law and laws making motorcycle helmets mandatory. However, the praise stops there. The group says that the state’s lack of a mandatory ignition lock for convicted drunk drivers accounts for the high number of deaths associated with car crashes. Also problematic is that Mississippi is one of only 18 states that does not mandate booster seats for those 8 or younger.