Fall is often a favorite season in the Magnolia State. Leaves turn burnt orange, golden yellow, and fiery red. The heat of summer transitions to cooler days. The smell of pies made from fresh harvest fruits fills kitchens. Pumpkin patches, hayrides, and the beginning of the holiday season bring together friends and family.
Autumn is undoubtedly a great time of the year, but it also heralds in car, truck, and other vehicle collisions.
Car Fatalities That Occur During Harvest Season in Mississippi
Mississippi is No. 1 in the United States in an unfortunate category: The state has the most fatal car accidents per 100,000 residents. Preliminary data from the National Safety Council show that the state had a 19% increase in 2020 over the previous year. Nationally, there was a 24% spike, making it the highest fatal car accident rate in almost 100 years despite fewer vehicle miles being traveled.
Perils of Harvest Season
Harvest season can be a particularly dangerous time on our roadways. Farm equipment, slow-moving tractors, and other farm vehicles are on the roads and can become hazards unless both the farmer and the driver are paying attention to their surroundings at all times. Trucks carrying the harvest can also endanger others when their loads aren’t properly secured.
Trucks are carrying the following fall season includes crops:
- Asian Pears
- Sweet Potatoes
- Swiss Chard
Produce is not the only crop. Timber is the second-highest producing agricultural commodity in Mississippi, accounting for about $1.15 billion. Timber is the No. 1 commodity in more than half of the counties in the state, according to the Mississippi State University Extension Office. Trucks carry timber throughout the state every day.
According to a study by AAA, road debris (a mixture of loose cargo, burst tires, and other objects in the lane of traffic) causes about 200,000 accidents annually in the U.S. Those same crashes resulted in 39,000 injuries and more than 500 deaths between 2011 and 2012.
Avoid Becoming A Crash Statistic
Those carrying loads and drivers of other vehicles both have a responsibility to keep our roads as safe as possible.
To properly secure a load, drivers should take these actions:
- Tie down the load with rope, netting, or straps
- Tie large objects directly to the vehicle or trailer
- Cover the entire load with a sturdy tarp or netting
- Don’t overload the vehicle
- Always double check load to make sure it is secure
Those not carrying a load should drive defensively:
- Avoid tailgating
- Look ahead for debris on the road
- Watch for trucks and other farm vehicles entering roadways
- Reduce your speed when approaching farm equipment
- Stay back from trucks carrying produce, timber, and other loads
- Exercise caution when passing vehicles and only do so when legal
All drivers should properly maintain their vehicles:
- Keep a regular maintenance schedule by trained mechanics
- Ensure tires are properly inflated
- Change out badly worn tires
- Watch for corrosion on the muffler or the hardware attaching it to the vehicle
Anyone operating a vehicle on Mississippi roads has a duty to be properly licensed and obey all traffic laws. Sometimes, drivers fail their responsibilities. That failure can hurt themselves and others. If you are injured because of someone else’s negligence or carelessness while driving, you may have grounds for a personal injury lawsuit.
Compensation can include property damage, medical bills, and lost wages as well as pain and suffering. At Chatham Gilder Howell Pittman PLLC, our team of attorneys proudly serves North Mississippi in personal injury, workers compensation, and social security disability cases. We will aggressively represent you in negotiations or all the way to trial.
Schedule a free initial consultation by calling (662) 222-0597 or sending us a message online.