Traffic laws exist to maintain order on the road and prevent accidents. Breaking any one of those laws results in consequences. When a driver violates a traffic law, they’re often issued a moving or non-moving citation.
A moving violation happens when a traffic law is violated when a car is moving. Non-moving violations also tend to happen when a car is moving, which can confuse some drivers. The difference is the way the violations are treated by the court and the Department of Licensing (DOL). In general, non-moving violations are not reported to the DOL. The violation, however, determines the type of citation the driver is issued. The more severe the broken law, the higher the fine or penalty.
While drivers all over Mississippi break a variety of traffic laws every day, there are some that are more common than others. Let’s take a look at the top five.
1) Ignoring the Speed Limit
Speed limits are set to balance road safety concerns with travel time and mobility. When a driver speeds, they are increasing their chances of losing control of their vehicle or being unable to stop in the event of an emergency.
In Mississippi, the speed limits are as follows:
- 70 mph on rural freeways and interstates
- 65 mph on four-lane divided highways
- 60 mph on portions of the interstate that pass through urban areas
- 45 mph during inclement weather for trucks and tractor-trailers
- Residential and school speed limits are set by individuals cities and counties
Mississippi has an absolute speed limit law, which means if a driver so much as exceeds the posted limit by one mile per hour, they can be cited. First-time violators may be fined up to $100, sentenced to up to ten days in jail, and have their license suspended. The penalties increase with subsequent violations.
2) Disobeying Traffic Signals
In Mississippi, a high number of fatal crashes occur at intersections after someone has run a stop sign or traffic light. In order to reduce instances of intersection wrecks, Title 63, Chapter 3, Article 7 of the Mississippi Code 1972 Annotated lays out what a driver’s responsibility is. In general, drivers are supposed to obey all traffic control signs unless directed to do otherwise by a police officer.
Depending on where the infraction occurs, drivers could see a $225 fine—potentially more depending on how many times they’ve been charged with the violation.
3) Driving Under the Influence
In Mississippi, it’s illegal to operate a vehicle with a blood alcohol content (BAC) at or above 0.08%. This, however, does not stop people from driving under the influence. In fact, between 2003 and 2012, over 2,500 people were killed in collisions involving drunk drivers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1.2% of MS residents admit to driving after drinking too much.
In addition to the BAC law, the state follows a zero-tolerance policy for those under the legal drinking age of 21. That makes it illegal for a young person to drive with any amount of alcohol in their system. Additionally, sobriety checkpoints and ignition interlock programs exist to reduce the instance of drunk driving accidents.
4) Failing to Use a Seat Belt
It’s no secret that seat belts save lives. That’s why the majority of states mandate them for vehicle occupants. In Mississippi, drivers and all passengers are required to buckle up. To enforce this, the seat belt laws in the state are considered primary. This means that officers can stop and ticket someone for violating the law. In most cases, the driver will be issued a $25 fine.
According to the Mississippi Department of Transportation (MDOT), seat belt use in the state is among the lowest across the nation. While the national average is at 90.1%, only 77.9% of Mississippi residents wear seat belts.
5) Distracted Driving
According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, nearly 80% of all crashes and 65% of near-crashes involve driver distraction in the three seconds before the collision. While the state does not currently have any laws that ban motorists receiving or initiating phone calls behind the wheel, there are distracted driving laws that prohibit using handheld devices to exchange messages, browse the internet, or navigate social media platforms.
A primary law is in place for novice drivers with intermediate or temporary licenses. Drivers with those licenses are not allowed to send, read, or compose a text message while operating a vehicle. For a first-time offender, this could result in up to a $100 fine.
If you believe you were involved in a car accident because another driver broke a traffic law, you should seek legal representation from Corban Gunn, Attorney at Law. Our law firm is dedicated to helping injured victims recovery physical, financially, and emotionally. To get your life back in order and hold the negligent party accountable for your losses, contact us today.