Until recently, Mississippi was just one of six states in the nation that did not prohibit all drivers from texting behind the wheel. However, in March of this year, according to FOX 13, Gov. Phil Bryant signed a bill that bans this form of distracted driving. This bill, which goes into effect on July 1, 2015, makes it illegal for drivers of all ages to read, send or write text messages, social media messages or emails while operating a vehicle. Until July of 2016, the fine for violating this law is $25. After that date passes, drivers will be fined $100 for texting behind the wheel.
Many are injured or killed every day from texting and driving
The enactment of this bill comes at a time when many drivers throughout the U.S., including here in Mississippi, are injured and experience immense pain and suffering, or are killed, in a distracted driving accident every day. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, on a daily basis, nine people die and 1,153 people are injured in collisions involving driver distraction.
Why these bans don’t always work
This new texting ban in Mississippi is designed to reduce the number of drivers who use their cellphone to text behind the wheel. According to Distraction.gov, in the U.S. at any given moment, nearly 660,000 drivers are either using their cellphone or another type of electronic device while their vehicle is in motion.
However, research shows that texting bans are not always effective at reducing the number of drivers who use their cellphone behind the wheel and end up causing a motor vehicle accident. According to a study released by the Highway Loss Data Institute, researchers analyzed the number of collision claims filed in Minnesota, Washington, California and Louisiana before and after the enactment of a texting ban. In three of the four states, the number of car accidents increased once texting and driving was banned.
There are three primary reasons why these bans are not always successful. These include the following:
- These bans only focus on banning one type of distracted driving.
- These bans ignore the many other types of driver distraction that exist.
- These bans rely on banning one type of distracted driving to solve the entire driver distraction problem.
Drivers, passengers or pedestrians in Mississippi who sustain injuries in an accident caused by a driver who chose to use his or her cellphone or engage in another form of distracted driving may suffer from short and long-term consequences. If you were injured in a distracted driving accident, reach out to an attorney to determine what compensation may be available to you.