Archive for February, 2012

Overloaded Tractor-Trailers on Mississippi Roadways

Wednesday, February 29th, 2012

There are certain types of Mississippi motor vehicle accidents that pose exceptional risks to other drivers and passengers traveling our roadways.  Trucking companies generally try to send trucks on runs with the maximum possible load because fewer trips mean greater trucking company profit.  A collision with a fully loaded tractor-trailer in Mississippi is the equivalent of being in a collision with 26 passenger vehicles stacked on top of each other.  It is hardly surprising that collisions between big-rig trucks and passenger vehicles tend to result in catastrophic injuries and wrongful death for passenger vehicle occupants.

Although tractor-trailers are limited to 80,000 lbs. when fully loaded, some drivers and trucking companies push the limits and overload tractor-trailers.  Overloaded tractor-trailers increase the dangers posed by commercial trucks for several reasons:

  • Excessive loads can make tractor-trailers less responsive when steering
  • Collapse of bridges or overpasses
  • Overloaded commercial trucks need more distance to stop
  • Increased risk of blowouts because of the excessive weight
  • Runaway trucks involving brake failure
  • Greater mass in a collision typically will result in greater force in the collision

A study by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) revealed that overloaded trucks are more likely to rollover or jackknife which can cause horrific trucking accidents involving multiple vehicles that pile up.  Overloaded trucks may also cause accidents when cargo falls off the vehicle into the roadway creating a crash hazard, or it falls directly on another vehicle.

Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring that truck loads comply with maximum weight requirements and that the load is distributed and secured properly.  When tractor-trailers are overloaded, the injuries suffered in a collision with a passenger vehicle may result in permanent devastating injuries including closed head injuries, damage to the spinal cord, paralysis, dismemberment or loss of limbs and other life-altering injuries.

Commercial trucks that exceed maximum weight limits may require the distance of a full football field to stop if the truck is traveling at 55 mph.  This means that by the time a truck driver can stop a big-rig it may have collided with many vehicles or obstacles in its path.  When a tractor-trailer collides with a passenger car, it is the occupants of the commercial truck that suffers injury or wrongful death almost 100 percent of the time.  The experienced Mississippi tractor-trailer accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi tractor-trailer victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Vast Majority of Accidents Caused by Some Form of Driving Distraction

Tuesday, February 28th, 2012

Most people that regularly travel the streets and highways of Mississippi recognize that using a cell phone to talk or text is dangerous but may not realize that this is only one of many causes of driver inattention that result in serious car accidents.  A study conducted by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute revealed that a shocking eighty percent of all motor vehicle accidents are caused in part by lack of driver attention.  While there have been attempts to address the problem of driver inattention in recent years, the laws have tended to focus exclusively on cell phone use for calls and texting.  The reality is that there are many other forms of driver distraction that continue to go unnoticed.

It goes without saying that the prevalence of mobile phones and other portable electronic devices have substantially increased the scope of distracted driving, but there are many other causes of driving inattention:

  • Reaching for objects in a vehicle
  • Eating and drinking
  • Brushing or combing one’s hair
  • Putting on makeup
  • Reading a newspaper or book
  • Carrying on a conversation with someone in the vehicle

While this is hardly an exhaustive list, it demonstrates that there are many forms of driver distraction that have nothing to do with cell phones.  The most dangerous driver distraction according to the Virginia Tech study involves reaching for objects in one’s vehicle including swatting a fly, picking up a cell phone that has fallen or grabbing a coffee cup.  A driver who reaches for an object in the passenger compartment while driving is nine times more likely to cause an auto accident or a near miss.  The study revealed that looking at an object in one’s vehicle increased the risk of being involved in motor vehicle accident 3.7 times.  The act of dialing a number on a cell phone increased the risk of being involved in an accident three times, which is the same increase associated with putting on makeup.

While restrictions on the use of cell phones and portable electronic devices while driving are a step in the right direction, there are many types of driver distraction that continue to contribute to severe injuries in motor vehicle collisions.  When a driver does not focus their entire physical, mental and visual attention on the roadway and potential hazards, the risk of a serious Mississippi auto accident is unacceptably high.  Inattentive drivers may cause accidents in a variety of ways including:

  • Failing to notice an interruption in the flow of traffic
  • Delayed response time when braking or maneuvering around a traffic hazard
  • Running red lights and stop signs
  • Failing to navigate curves in the road
  • Colliding with pedestrians in crosswalks
  • Drifting out of one’s lane or off the roadway

These are just a few of the types of driver errors that may be caused by distracted drivers.  If you or a close family member is injured or a loved one dies in a distracted driving accident, you may have a right to compensation for your injuries or loss of companions, support and guidance of a loved one.  The experienced Mississippi motor vehicle accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi auto accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Becoming an Effective Member of Your Mississippi Personal Injury Legal Team

Monday, February 27th, 2012

Many personal injury victims who suffer injury in a car accident, slip and fall, construction accident or other negligent or intentional acts of third parties understand that the effectiveness of their personal injury legal team can have a substantial impact on their potential recovery.  However, it is common for those who are injured by the misconduct of others to be unaware of one of the most important members of a personal injury legal team – the injury victim.  There are a wide variety of measures that you can take that may either strengthen or damage your own Mississippi personal injury claim.  At Barrett Law, we have helped thousands of injury victims throughout Mississippi; we have provided some insight into how to be an effective member of your own personal injury legal team:

Follow Up on All Medical Treatment: Many Mississippi car accident or other personal injury victims do not seek prompt medical attention or minimize their symptoms.  An important part of obtaining proper medical treatment and compensation for your injuries is obtaining an accurate diagnosis and prognosis.  When you fail to disclose symptoms to your physician or delay obtaining medical attention, you compromise the ability of the doctor to accurately determine the severity of your injuries.  It is also essential to attend all medical appointments and fully follow up on the full course of treatment and physical therapy.

Do Not Share Your Hardships with the World: The overwhelming popularity of social networks means that many people are sharing the intimate details of their life with friends and family on social networks.  If you are seriously injured, it is the type of life experience many people are tempted to discuss on their social network page.  This is never a good idea because insurance carriers now regularly monitor social networks for evidence in personal injury cases.  Some courts are even granting insurance company discovery requests for access to the password protected areas of a plaintiff’s Facebook and other social network pages.  An insurance company may look for pictures of you engaged in activity that is inconsistent with your injuries or admissions that may suggest you were partially at-fault.  Generally, the best practice is not to discuss the details of your accident and resulting injuries with anyone except your Mississippi personal injury attorney.

Do Not “Sanitize” Your Story: There is a natural tendency to want to omit damaging facts when discussing your personal injury claim with your attorney.  This is a recipe for disaster because then your attorney may be unprepared for this damaging piece of information if it later comes out.  An experienced Mississippi personal injury attorney can effectively deal with many types of damaging facts as long as the attorney is made aware of them.  If you fail to provide all relevant facts to your Mississippi personal attorney, the attorney may even build a litigation strategy that is inconsistent with the facts.

Provide All Documents Promptly: There are many documents that your Mississippi personal injury attorney may need to effectively pursue your claim, including documents like medical records and pay stubs.  These documents are essential to properly evaluate issues, such as fault, causation and damages.  The Mississippi personal injury law firm that represents you will also be required to provide “discovery” to the insurance company attorneys for the other driver.  There are timing requirements to comply with formal request for documents and failure to comply in a timely fashion care result in monetary sanctions or the preclusion of certain evidence at trial.

Follow the Advice of Your Attorney: If your Mississippi personal injury attorney advises you to do certain things, it is generally advisable to adhere to your attorney’s advice.  If you do not understand information or the rationale for why your attorney tells you to do something, you should ask.  Your attorney is a legal expert so disregarding his advice is akin to ignoring the instructions of your doctor.

If you follow these guidelines, you will be an effective member of your Mississippi personal injury team.  While a skilled personal injury lawyer in Mississippi can compensate for many errors may be injury victims, an injury victim that is proactive about being an effective member of their litigation team can substantially improve the value of their case.  The experienced Mississippi motor vehicle accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi auto accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

 

Five Things You Need to Know About Fault in Mississippi Auto Accidents

Friday, February 24th, 2012

When you are involved in a collision while traveling on Mississippi roadways, the accident scene can be extremely confusing and chaotic.  Many accidents happen so quickly that it can be difficult to process exactly how the accident occurred even if you are one of the drivers involved. What you do at an accident scene is important because your ability to recover financial compensation for your injuries from the other driver’s insurance company may depend on your ability to prove the fault of the other driver.  While there are a few accidents where there can be little dispute about who is at fault, this is the exception rather than the rule.

The basis for imposing liability in most Mississippi car accident cases is the negligence of the other driver. Negligence effectively refers to unreasonably careless driving that causes foreseeable injury to other vehicle occupants, motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  Fault is a closely related concept, which in ordinary parlance refers to a person whose poor driving causes an accident.  It is fairly rare that an insurance company will simply concede the issue of fault, which means the available evidence in most cases is open to multiple interpretations as to who caused an accident. Because fault is a critical issue in terms of recovering financial compensation for your injuries suffered in Mississippi motor vehicle accident, we have provided five things you need to know about the issue of fault if you are involved in a car crash in Mississippi.

  1. If you are involved in a collision, you should never admit fault or express remorse. While the urge to say, “I’m sorry” may be compelling, a savvy insurance company adjuster may later construe this act of courtesy as an admission of fault.
  2. Do not presume that you are at fault and have no right to recovery based solely on the law enforcement accident report. While police officers that investigate car accidents are extremely knowledgeable and competent, they frequently are forced to make a determination on the issue of fault with incomplete evidence. If you retain an experienced Mississippi car accident law firm, the law firm typically will conduct an independent investigation and often consult accident reconstruction experts. The key to keep in mind is that you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries despite the conclusions of a law enforcement accident report.
  3. Any driver involved in a motor vehicle accident should be aware that fault can be divided amongst multiple parties. Sometimes both drivers in a two-car collision will have made careless errors, but this does not necessarily preclude your ability to recover for your injuries provided that the other driver is determined to have had a higher degree of fault.  While your own percentage of fault may result in a reduction of your financial recovery, you may still be entitled to compensation for your injuries but the amount may be reduced by your percentage of fault.  When the plaintiff and defendant are both at-fault, the legal term to characterize this type of fault is “comparative fault.
  4. Some of the most common types of unsafe driving that constitute fault in Mississippi car accident lawsuits include:
  • Speeding
  • Drunk driving
  • Illegal turns
  • Running stop signs/red lights
  • Tailgating
  • Drowsy driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Failure to observe right of way
  • Unsafe lane changes
  1. There are a few situations where fault may not be disputed.  The most common situations include

Mississippi car crashes in which one driver rear-ends another driver, or a driver makes a left turn at an intersection when the other vehicle is proceeding straight through a green light.

Because insurance companies aggressively dispute the issue of fault in Mississippi car accident cases, it is important to seek an experienced Mississippi car accident lawyer who may be able to preserve critical evidence and develop a compelling theory of liability.  The experienced Mississippi motor vehicle accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi auto accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Will Legalization of Medical Marijuana Increase in Mississippi Car Accidents

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

Mississippi is one of several states that will consider proposals to legalize medical marijuana later this year.  It is somewhat predictable that Mississippi might be a state on the forefront of this issue given that Mississippi is a producer of medical marijuana.  The University of Mississippi has long functioned as a marijuana research facility.  Ole Miss even grows and ships medical marijuana for use in other states where use of cannabis for medical purposes is legal provided it is prescribed by a physician.  Ole Miss even receives federal funds to promote research and production of medical marijuana.  Mississippi has also decriminalized marijuana up to thirty grams.

Despite where one stands on merits of legalizing medical marijuana, one issue that must be considered is how it might impact accidents involving impaired drivers.  Alcohol, which is legal and readily accessible to Mississippi adults, accounts for over 10,000 traffic related fatalities per year and accounts for 33 percent of accident related fatalities in Mississippi.  Alcohol is the most prevalent factor in collisions that result in injury or fatalities throughout the U.S.

One is left to wonder why we should be more optimistic that the legalization of medical marijuana would not result in an analogous surge in Mississippi car accidents caused by impaired drivers.  Some medical marijuana proponents argue that marijuana can be distinguished from alcohol use because it will only be legal for medical reasons.  It is theorized that because alcohol is used exclusively for recreational use this is why it results in a high rate of drunk driving.  It is also argued that drivers using medical marijuana may have less impairment of driving ability than those who consume alcohol.

A recent study suggests that this rather dubious differentiation may not have any basis in fact.  The recent study published in the British Medical Journal revealed that drivers who had used marijuana were twice as likely to be involved in an auto accident then drivers who were not under the influence of marijuana.  However, another recent study conducted by professors at the Universities of Colorado and Montana, which analyzed 19 years of data involving fatal accidents, found that accidents rates have declined by ten percent in states that have legalized medical marijuana.  The authors of the study argue that this does not simply reflect declining accident rates in states where medical marijuana is legal because alcohol related accident rates have remained relatively constant in these states.

The argument that somehow the clinical role of marijuana makes a difference is also questionable because of the growing number of motor vehicle accidents caused by drivers under the influence of prescription medications.  The theory that somehow limiting use to therapeutic purposes will prevent the drug from being ingested before motorist drive would seem to be no more valid than with prescription medications.

Law enforcement and public safety advocates argue that driving under the influence of any substance that causes impairment is dangerous.  Many car accidents are caused by some form of drug, including alcohol, prescription medications, over-the-counter drugs and illegal narcotics.  Those who oppose legalization of marijuana believe that anything that increases access or use of a drug will result in an increase in accidents involving impaired drivers.

If you have suffered serious injury caused by a driver under the influence of alcohol or drugs, you should seek immediate legal advice.  Most personal injury law firms in Mississippi offer a free consultation with no obligation so that they can assess the value of your claim, and you can obtain information about your options.  The experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi personal injury victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

Whiplash Injuries Can Cause Permanent Injury and Debilitation

Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012

One of the most common injuries suffered in a Mississippi auto accident is whiplash, which causes serious back and neck pain.  Whiplash often is marginalized by insurance companies as fake or exaggerated injuries.  This inaccurate perception is fueled by comic treatment of whiplash injuries by Hollywood.  The reality is that whiplash injuries are extremely debilitating and can result in severe pain for months.  Many Mississippi whiplash victims suffer permanent pain and disability.

Whiplash injuries typically occur when a vehicle is hit from behind, which causes the head and neck to lurch forward at a fairly high rate of speed before being “whipped” backwards.  The whipping motion results in stretching of the muscles and ligament tissues of the neck.  The speed of the motion may cause the neck to overstretch resulting in microscopic tears to the muscle fibers.

The unfair stereotypes that minimalize whiplash injuries result from a number of factors unique to whiplash injuries.  The first issue is that sometimes the symptoms of whiplash injuries are not immediately apparent.  The most common cause of whiplash injuries is motor vehicle accidents.  Because many car accident victims suffer only minor symptoms immediately following a Mississippi auto accident, they may delay in seeking medical attention for days or even weeks.  This delay may be referenced by the insurance company as evidence that no serious injury was suffered in a collision.

Another issue that contributes to the false impression that whiplash injuries are not serious is the fact that they can be difficult to diagnose.  Even with sophisticated diagnostic tools like x-rays, an MRI or CT scan, it can be difficult to develop clear medical evidence of whiplash.  Whiplash injuries often occur at low rates of speed, which also tends to be used to minimize the significance of whiplash injuries suffered in Mississippi auto accidents.  Insurance adjusters may contact unrepresented collision injury victims and try to extend a low-ball settlement offer based on a lack of significant property damage.  The adjuster may characterize the accident as a “low impact” collision and offer a woefully inadequate settlement.

It is important to understand that there is minimal correlation between the rate of speed during a collision and whiplash injuries to the neck.  When you are in a collision, the vehicle and the head of occupants move at different rates of speed.  In a collision where a vehicle is moving at 5 miles per hour, the head of vehicle occupants will move at 10-12 g of acceleration.  Approximate 1.5 million vehicle occupants involved in low speed rear impact collisions will experience chronic pain.  The experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi auto accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

$528 Million Cruise Ship Accident Raises Issues of Proper Venue

Tuesday, February 21st, 2012

While cruise lines provide one of the safest forms of transportation for travel and leisure, the Costa Concordia disaster has provided a wake-up call regarding the potential danger of a cruise ship accident.  The thirty-nine passengers that survived the tragedy when the cruise ship capsized have filed a lawsuit in a Florida court demanding $528 million dollars in damages.  The cruise ship accident victims are seeking $78 million in compensatory damages and $450 million in punitive damages.

The lawsuit was filed in Miami against Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. and Costa Cruise Lines.  The lawsuit raises questions regarding the legal concept of venue because some legal experts suggest that the lawsuit should have been filed in Italy, which is the home of Costa Cruise Lines.  The ticket purchased by the cruise line accident victims also designated that legal claims had to be pursued in Italy.  One of the attorneys for the cruise ship accident victims argue that Carnival Cruise Lines, Inc. and Costa Cruise Lines are essentially the same entity in Florida and have offices in Florida.

Many personal injury victims do not understand the concept of venue, or why it is important in personal injury accident litigation.  Venue is the legal term for where it is geographically appropriate to file a lawsuit.  This can be a very important legal concept because a close proximity between the courthouse and where one lives or conducts business can make it much less costly to litigate a personal injury claim.  The issue can also be important because certain judges and juries may be more favorable to personal injury victims.  One might be inclined to file a car accident case with serious injuries in a blue collar community with a reputation for more generous personal injury verdicts than a high income area with a reputation for protecting big business.

Mississippi venue in civil personal injury litigation is governed by Miss. Code Ann. § 11-11-3.  Generally, a personal injury lawsuit must be filed in the county where the defendant resides.  If the defendant is a corporation, the personal injury lawsuit should be filed in the county that constitutes the company’s principle place of business.  However, there may be other options for where to file a Mississippi personal injury lawsuit.  The personal injury case may be filed where a substantial alleged act or omissions occurred or where a substantial event that caused the injury occurred. If you are in a collision with another motorist, for example, you could choose to file your lawsuit in the county where the accident occurred even if the other driver does not live in that county.  The experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi personal injury victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

Anchorwoman Attacked on Live Television by Dog Receives 70 Stitches

Monday, February 20th, 2012

We previously wrote an entry in this blog regarding a television news anchorwoman who was bitten in the face by a dog during an on air attack.  The woman has now been treated and information about her injuries and treatment reveal the serious injuries that may be caused by a dog attack.  The woman received seventy stitches to the face; she is unable to speak because her mouth had to be stitched shut.  The dog attack victim received stiches to her nose, lower lip and upper lip.  Her mouth was stitched shut to allow the skin graft to take hold as well as to let the blood begin circulating in her lips again.

This type of serious dog bite is not nearly as uncommon as many people might think.  The American Humane Association reports that there are approximately 800,000 dog bites per year that require medical treatment.  Children are particularly vulnerable to being the victim of a Mississippi dog bite.  Fifty percent of dog bite victims are children under the age of 12.  Children are not only more likely to be attacked by a dog but also tend to suffer more severe dog attack injuries.  A whopping 82 percent of dog bites that cause trips to the emergency room involve children under the age of 15 while 70 percent of dog bite fatalities involve children under the age of 10.

There are certain breeds of dogs that have a greater propensity to be vicious, and they tend to be involved in more serious dog attacks.  Because of this propensity, many cities in Mississippi have ordinances that limit or restrict ownership of certain breeds of dog.  This legislation called Breed Specific Legislation (BSL) most commonly targets pit bulls in Mississippi but also applies to Rottweilers and some other breeds depending on the city.

One reason children are disproportionately injured in dog attacks is that they lack the experience and knowledge of how to act safely around dogs.  Research has indicated that children who are educated by their parents about how to play with dogs and when to leave dogs alone are less likely to be involved in a dog attack.  It is never advisable to leave a small child unsupervised around someone else’s dog even if the child knows the dog.  Sometimes behavior that does not seem antagonizing to a child may cause a dog to react in unpredictable ways.

If you or someone you love is the victim of a dog attack, the experienced Mississippi dog attack attorneys at Barrett Law represent injury victims with compassion and diligence.  The experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi personal injury victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

Impact of Pre-Existing Conditions on Mississippi Personal Injury Cases

Friday, February 17th, 2012

Many people develop back pain caused by arthritis or pain associated with a prior injury to the back.  Because the back is vulnerable to injury in a Mississippi motor vehicle accident or slip and fall accident, insurance carriers often offer evidence of a pre-existing back injury or condition as a defense that back pain was not caused by physical trauma from t a car accident.  Insurance companies are particularly likely to thoroughly comb through an auto accident victim’s past medical records for evidence of prior injuries or illnesses that may be the basis for current pain and disability when liability of their insured is fairly clear.

Any delay in seeking medical attention following an accident in a Mississippi slip and fall incident or motor vehicle collision may provide support for this defense.  Back injuries can cause excruciating pain and permanent disability.  Sometimes it can be difficult to diagnose or age a back injury so insurance companies will argue that an accident victim is trying to inflate the value of his or her car accident claim by blaming old injuries on a recent Mississippi car crash.

Fortunately, the law offers some protection to personal injury verdicts that have had pre-existing injuries aggravated by a Mississippi auto collision or other accident.  There is a basic saying that “tortfeasors take their victims as they find them.”  When the negligent, reckless or intentional conduct of a wrongdoer aggravates a pre-existing injury, the wrongdoer cannot avoid liability merely because the victim was particularly susceptible to a certain kind of injury.

If you have a heart condition like coronary heart disease that makes you especially vulnerable to a heart attack, for example, the defendant in a Mississippi personal injury case may be liable for causing extreme emotional distress that causes you to suffer a fatal heart attack even if your medical condition made you particularly susceptible to such an injury.  The same principle applies to back injuries where you have a pre-existing condition.  If a Mississippi car accident can be shown to have aggravated the condition, you may still recover for damages suffered to your back including pain and suffering, lost income, future partial or total disability, medical expenses and other damages.

While a medical expert may be required to testify that the impact and trauma from the fall or car accident aggravated the pre-existing injury, the law does not permit the defendant to exploit the fact that an injury victim was particularly vulnerable to the type of injury suffered.  The defendant cannot seek to avoid liability or reduce the amount of damages merely because the victim had a pre-existing condition that made the type of injury suffered more probable.

If you or a member of your family has been involved in a Mississippi car accident or suffered personal injury in another type of accident, the experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law represent injury victims with compassion and diligence.  The experienced Mississippi personal injury attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi personal injury victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.

 

Feds Propose Limits on Dashboard Gadgets That Distract Drivers

Thursday, February 16th, 2012

The dashboards of passenger vehicles are quickly becoming a cross between a comprehensive entertainment system, wireless communication center and portable arcade.  Car manufacturers are constantly striving to provide vehicles with more appealing features including improved safety features like crash avoidance systems and improved air bag protection, but these features often conflict with new entertainment features.  Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of Mississippi motor vehicle collisions.  As car manufacturers increasingly turn car dashboards into home entertainment centers that can be used for keeping in touch on social media sites, searching the web, watching videos and reading e-books, the problem continues to grow.

However, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has announced new guidelines designed to reduce the risk of distracted driving collisions caused by dashboard entertainment technology.  The NHTSA is requesting that automakers curb the practice of providing electronic gadgets that promote distracted driving.  Although compliance is voluntary, the NHTSA has asked vehicle makers to design distracting technology so that it is automatically disabled when the vehicle is moving.

The proposal does not apply to all electronic technology equally.  Certain types of technology like collision warning systems and GPS devices are partially exempt from the guideline.  While the NHTSA is not requesting that these devices be disabled when the vehicle is moving, they are asking that the devices be designed so there is no need for drivers to adjust them while driving.

Unfortunately, this proposal is voluntary, which means that manufacturers may choose to ignore the guideline because consumers may be turned off by the devices being disabled when the vehicle is moving.  If some motor vehicle manufacturers decide that they wish to make the devices usable during driving, it may place pressure on other car makers to follow suit so that their vehicles offer the same technological entertainment advantages.

Independent studies have shown that distracted driving is comparable to drunk driving and drowsy driving in terms of the likelihood of Mississippi car accidents.  It is inconceivable that automakers would consider installing mini-bars in the front seat of passenger vehicles so one would assume that it is also a bad idea to put a DVD player or device for surfing the Internet in the dashboard of a vehicle.  Driving distractions that cause Mississippi motor vehicle accidents can take many forms, including watching videos, web surfing, reading, eating, using a cell phone and more.  It is always dangerous to multi-task while driving a motor vehicle so we can only hope that automakers comply with the suggestions of the NHTSA.

The experienced Mississippi motor vehicle accident attorneys at Barrett Law have been providing effective representation to Mississippi auto accident victims for over 75 years.  We provide diligent legal representation and impassioned advocacy so we invite you to call us today at 662-834-2376 to learn how we can help.