As car makers continually develop and add new safety features to vehicles, it might seem logical for people in Mississippi to think that the roads are actually safer than in prior years or generations. However, the reality remains that human drivers continue to make very unwise and often unsafe choices that put innocent people at risk every day. As a result, people are still dying on Mississippi roads and highways.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were a total of 690 vehicular fatalities statewide in 2016, more than in any year since 2009 when 700 fatalities were recorded. In that timespan, accident deaths hit their lowest point in 2012 with 582 people losing their lives. Fatalities rose to 613 the following year and dipped just slightly to 607 in 2014 only to jump dramatically to 677 in 2015.
These deaths represent a wide variety of accident types and factors including alcohol, speeding, pedestrians, large commercial vehicles, motorcycles and more. In 2016 alone, crashes involving alcohol and speed claimed 128 and 81 lives, respectively. Large trucks were involved in 78 deaths. A total of 58 pedestrians and 50 motorcyclists died that year as well.
In looking at data for Copiah County for the five years between 2012 and 2016, 15 of the 69 accident deaths involved large trucks and another 13 involved alcohol. Speed was another factor in 11 of the fatalities. Six pedestrians and two motorcyclists were killed in vehicle accidents in the county during that five-year span. These statistics make it clear that even as technology improves and laws sometimes strengthen, more must be done to keep people safe. Even one fatality is one too many.