Whether you’re headed to your vacation destination in Mississippi or you’re just passing through the state, it’s important to know the rules of the road. Traffic laws and vehicle requirements are established at the state level. This means that as you cross state lines, the laws can change. If you’re planning on driving in or through Mississippi, here are five facts out-of-state drivers should know.
1) Seat belts are required.
While some states have more lax seat belt laws, Mississippi is not one of them. According to Mississippi’s safety seat belt law, all vehicle occupants are required to buckle up when riding in a vehicle. If anyone in a vehicle is found in violation of the law, they can be charged with a misdemeanor and a $25 fine.
When transporting children, the driver is responsible for ensuring they are in the right restraint device. Children under four must be protected in a car seat that meets federal motor vehicle safety standards. If the child is between four and seven, a booster seat is required.
The seat belt law in Mississippi was revised and tightened in 2017. Prior to the changes, not all passengers were required to wear a seat belt. The changes, however, were made in hopes of saving more people from serious and fatal injuries in car accidents.
2) U-turns are illegal in some situations.
While making a U-turn is a most common traffic maneuver, it’s not always allowed. In Mississippi, it’s illegal to make a U-turn where a prohibitive sign is posted. U-turns, however, are allowed at most intersections, in residential areas, and on divided highways where there is an opening specifically marked for U-turns or left turns. You are also allowed to make a U-turn across a double yellow line, so long as it’s safe to do so and there are no signs prohibiting it.
3) Out-of-state learner’s permits are valid.
If a non-resident of Mississippi has an out-of-state learner’s permit, they are allowed to drive; however, it’s important to note that they must follow their own state’s rules and guidelines.
In Mississippi, a resident can apply for a learner’s permit at 14 years old, so long as they’re enrolled in a driver education program. At age 15, they can apply for a regular learner’s permit. Once a person is 16 and has had their learner’s permit for at least 12 months, they can take a driving test. With an intermediate license a teen can drive unsupervised, but there are some restrictions. Once they’ve had their intermediate license for at least six months, they are eligible for a full license.
If a person with a learner’s permit moves to Mississippi, they have to transfer the permit and pass any necessary requirements in order to drive as an MS resident.
4) Texting and driving is illegal.
The majority of states across the country have laws about the use of mobile devices while driving. In Mississippi, drivers are still allowed to use their phone to make or receive phone calls behind the wheel. This is because there is no hands-free law.
Texting, however, is illegal. Any driver caught texting and driving can be fined and cited. Bus drivers with at least one minor on board and those with learner’s permits are not allowed to use a cell phone at all while driving.
5) Mississippi is the only state without open container laws.
As the only state that does not expressly prohibit the possession of an open container while driving, drivers are technically allowed to operate their vehicles with alcoholic beverages. However, anyone seen doing so will likely be pulled over and questioned. If a driver is found to have a blood alcohol concentration higher than 0.08%, they will be charged with driving over the influence.
It’s important to note that while the state does not have an open container law, some counties do. As such, it’s wise to avoid driving with an open container or drinking while driving.
If you or a loved one has been in an accident in Mississippi, Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law can help you seek compensation for your losses. When a negligent driver causes a crash, we believe they should be held accountable for their actions. That’s why we file car accident claims on behalf of victims who need help with recovering from their physical, emotional, and financial losses.
To learn more about the litigation process or to schedule a consultation to review your situation and options, get in touch with our office today. We’ll help you get your life back in order, so you can put the wreck behind you.