It’s time for the next installment of Holcomb Dunbar law series “Insurance Law from A to Z.” This was put together by our litigation group who practice in the insurance law arena. Of course, if you have questions about these or any other topics please do not hesitate to contact us.
This week’s installment – Driver Safety Laws
A person riding a bicycle upon a roadway generally has all of the rights and responsibilities of a driver of a vehicle. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-1303.
If a bicycle lane exists, the operator of a motor vehicle may not block the lane to oncoming bicycle traffic and shall yield to a bicyclist before entering or crossing the lane. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-1305.
Bicyclists operating a bicycle on a roadway at less than the normal speed of traffic shall ride as close as practicable to the right-hand curb unless it is unsafe to do so, when passing another bicyclist, when preparing to make a left hand turn or when proceeding straight in a place where right hand turns are permitted, and when necessary to avoid a hazardous condition. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-1307. Further, bicyclists should not ride more than two abreast, except on paths or roadways exclusively for bicycles. Id.
When passing, motorists are required to leave a safe distance of not less than three feet between the vehicle and bicycle. Further, a motor vehicle may pass a bicycle in a non-passing zone when it is safe to do so. And a motorist that passes a bicycle may not make a right turn unless the turn can be made with reasonable safety. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-1309.
It is unlawful to harass, taunt or maliciously throw an object at or in the direction of any person riding a bicycle. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-1313.
Cell Phone and Texting
No prohibition for adult drivers of passenger vehicles. However, the use of a cell phone could potentially lead to a citation for careless driving, or worse, if driver inattention causes an accident.
Mississippi bans the use of cell phones and personal digital assistants while driving for the following: (1) any person authorized to drive under an intermediate license, temporary learning permit or a temporary driving permit; and (2) any person operating a passenger bus with a minor passenger on the bus, except for an emergency or official school business. There are exceptions for emergencies, reporting reckless behavior and law enforcement. Miss. Code Ann. § 63-1-73.
Pedestrians are subject to all traffic control signals at intersections. Where no traffic signal is in place or operation, the driver of a vehicle shall yield right-of-way to pedestrians within any marked cross-walk or within any unmarked cross-walk at an intersection. (Also, drivers approaching a vehicle yielding to a cross walk may not overtake and pass that vehicle.) Every pedestrian crossing a roadway at any point other than within a marked crosswalk or unmarked crosswalk at an intersection shall yield right of way to all vehicles on the roadway. Miss. Code Ann. §§ 63-3-1101, 1103 and 1105.
Miss. Code Ann. § 63-2-1 requires all passenger vehicles drivers and front-seat passengers to wear safety belts. Some exemptions include: (1) drivers and passengers with disabilities or medical conditions that make safety belts impossible or dangerous to use; (2) drivers and passengers of vehicles designed for farm use; and (3) on-duty drivers of U.S. Postal Service vehicles and on-duty meter readers.
Unattended Motor Vehicles
Miss. Code Ann. § 63-3-909 outlines what a driver must do before leaving a vehicle unattended in Mississippi: (1) turn off the engine; (2) lock the ignition; (3) remove the key; and (4) set the brake and turn the wheels to the curb (if on a grade).
The information contained in this post is for general guidance on matters of interest only. The application and impact of laws can vary widely based on the specific facts involved. Given the changing nature of laws, rules and regulations, there may be omissions or inaccuracies in information contained in this report. Accordingly, the information in this report is provided with the understanding that the authors are not herein engaged in rendering legal, tax, or other professional advice and services. As such, it should not be used as a substitute for consultation with legal or other competent advisers. Before making any decision or taking any action, you should consult with your counsel or the attorneys at Holcomb Dunbar.