2014 is shaping up to be a dangerous year for Mississippi drivers. A number of fatal automobile accidents are already being reported throughout the state. The unseasonably cold and icy weather that hit much of Northern Mississippi near the start of the New Year is to blame for some accidents, while others appear to be due to driver mistakes.
In Webster County, Mississippi, a three vehicle accident resulted in the death of one driver and injuries to three others. The accident happened on Highway 15 between Mathiston and Maben. Thomas Cass Johnson, a 27 year old from Maben, was driving northbound in a sedan when he collided with two south-bound vehicles. The drivers of these vehicles were 62 year old Terry Morgan and 61 year old William Nolden of Maben.
Authorities believe Johnson’s car crossed the center line, clipping Morgan’s pickup truck before crashing head on into Nolden’s SUV. Sadly, Johnson perished in the accident. His passenger, 32 year old Jason Mann also of Maben was airlifted to the Tupelo North Mississippi Medical Center. Morgan and Nolden were both rushed to the hospital as well. The accident remains under investigation and it is unclear what caused Johnson to fatally cross the center line.
In Pearl, Mississippi, a 22 year old woman from Texas was killed in a single vehicle accident. Britney Stevens was headed north on Highway 49 at 3 p.m. on January 6. She tried to switch lanes and spun out of control, crashing into an interstate sign. Stevens died on impact. Police report that it was raining at the time of the accident, and they are investigating if the weather played a role in the crash.
These tragic fatalities so soon after the start of the New Year serve to highlight the need for all drivers to drive defensively and with an awareness of the most common causes of automobile accidents. Some factors that frequently lead to fatal accidents include:
- Distracted driving—this is the number one cause of automobile accidents in America, and crashes involving distracted driving often involve one or more fatality. Driving while talking on the phone, eating, texting, grooming, watching outside stimuli, and the like all lead to distraction. Drivers who use a hand-held device while driving are four times more likely to get into a car accident than those who simply pay attention to the road. Those who text are 23 times more likely to get into an accident. Drive safely. Focus on the road and put distractions aside until you reach your destination.
- Speeding—excessive speed continues to be one of the greatest contributing factors to automobile accidents and fatalities. Going just a few miles over the speed limit can prevent you from being able to stop on time in the event an obstacle emerges. Speed can be deadly. Slow down to protect your own life and that of other drivers.
- Drunk driving—over 1.4 million drivers are arrested each year on suspicion of driving under the influence. Approximately 300,000 accidents involving drunk drivers occur every day. Getting behind the wheel while intoxicated is irresponsible and hazardous. Accidents caused by this behavior are entirely preventable, so take a cab when you plan to drink and be vigilant while driving as drunk drivers are on the roadways more than you may realize.
The Giddens Law Firm wishes you and your family a safe and happy New Year. While the traffic fatalities occurring throughout the state so early in the New Year are tragic, it is our hope these accidents will serve to remind you of the importance of responsible, defensive driving. If you or a loved one is injured in a car accident, call the Giddens Law Firm at (601) 355-2022 for a free consultation.