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Mississippi Roads Most Dangerous? Public Safety Officials Disagree

By Daniel Cherry | Published 09 Jul 2012 06:08pm | comments
Some national business and insurance websites say Mississippi has the most dangerous highways in America...that's ruffled some feathers among those keeping the roads safe. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how officials say the statistics are misleading.
 
The report says Mississippi has 26.7 vehicle fatalities per 100,000 drivers...the highest rate in the nation. Public Safety officials like Master Sergeant Johnny Poulos disagree because the numbers aren't current.
 
"If you want to go back to 2009, that would be an accurate statement. This is 2012, three years later and Mississippi has made great strides when it comes to traffic safety."
 
The study pulled figures from 2007 through 2009, when, in those 3 years, Mississippi averaged nearly 800 fatalities per year. In 2011 that number was down to 630. Joni Thaggard just drove 1,200 miles from Denver to Jackson, and she has seen some bad driving behavior from Mississippians.
 
"Quick lane changes, driving too fast in the rain."
 
But she doesn't feel it's worse than anywhere else.
 
"We don't have the corner on the market in texting and driving and applying lipstick. So I'm not sure I agree with those statistics."
 
Those keeping the roads safe say they've stepped up education and enforcement programs. Sergeant Poulos points out, there were no fatalities over the Memorial Day Holiday and only one over the 4th of July.
 
"One is too many. But we're coming up on Labor Day, and everyone can look forward to the same enforcement activities. We just want people to arrive to their destinations in a safe manner."
 
Wall Street 24/7, the business website where the study originated, refused to comment.

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