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Mississippi New Resident Guide

Welcome to Mississippi! As a new driver to this state you will need to be aware of our unique traffic laws and regulations. Here's what you need to keep in mind while driving in Mississippi. Some of these rules may be the same as what you're already used to, but others will be drastically different!

Licensing and Residency Requirements



  • You must visit the nearest driver's license office to apply for a Mississippi license. You must present a valid out-of-state license, proof of domicile and your Social Security card or a print out from the Social Security office in order to apply. Written and skills tests may be waived.
  • You have 30 days to register your vehicle(s) in Mississippi if you have a current registration (license plate) in your prior state of residence.


Graduated Licensing Program



14 Year Old Learner's Permit

Requirements

  • Must be 14
  • Must provide proof of school enrollment
  • Must provide proof of enrollment in drivers education program from school you are attending

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May only drive in driver's education vehicle with instructor
  • Must apply for regular learner's permit when you turn 15

Learner's Permit

Requirements

  • Must be 15 years old
  • Must provide proof of school enrollment
  • Must pass written examination
  • Must pass vision screening

Privileges and Restrictions

  • Must be supervised by a parent, guardian or other person age twenty-one (21) years or older who holds a valid driver's license and who is actually occupying the seat beside the driver

Intermediate License

Requirements

  • Must hold valid learner's permit for at least 12 months
  • Must pass driving skills test
  • Must be at least 16

Privileges and Restrictions

  • May drive unsupervised between 6 AM and 10 PM Sunday - Thursday, and 6 AM - 11:30 PM Friday and Saturday, and anytime if going to and from work.
  • At other times, must be supervised by a parent, guardian or other person age twenty-one (21) years or older who holds a valid driver's license and who is actually occupying the seat beside the driver.

Unrestricted License

Requirements

  • Must be 16 and 6 months


Violation Point Counts

The amount of points that go against your driver's license for specific types of violations.



Mississippi does not have a point system, but traffic violations are still recorded on your driving record.



Insurance Requirements



Insurance limits for such coverage are at least:

  • $5000.00 for property damage,
  • $10,000.00 for any one person injured or killed, and
  • $20,000.00 for any two persons injured or killed.

Every motor vehicle operated in this state shall have an insurance card maintained in the vehicle as proof of liability insurance that is in compliance with the liability limits required above. The insured parties shall be responsible for maintaining the insurance card in each vehicle.



Headlight Laws



You must dim your headlights from high to low beam when you are within 500 feet of an oncoming vehicle or within 500 feet of a vehicle traveling ahead of you.

You must use your headlights:

  • From sunset to sunrise
  • When you cannot see clearly ahead for a distance of 500 feet

There is no specific law allowing or prohibiting headlight flashing.



Implied Consent Laws



Criminal

  • First refusal - Not less than $250 or more than $1,000 and/or not more than 48 hours in jail
  • Second refusal (within 5 years) - Not less than $600 or more than $1,500 and not less than 5 days (mand) or more than 1 year
  • Third or subsequent refusal (within 5 years) - Not less than $2,000 or more than $5,000 and not less than 1 year or more than 5 years

Administrative

  • First refusal - Suspension for not less than 90 days and until such person attends and successfully completes an alcohol safety education program
  • Second refusal - Suspension for 2 years (mandatory)
  • Third or subsequent refusal - Suspension for 5 years (mandatory)


DUI Penalties



First offense

  • $250 - $1,000 fine
  • Up to 48 hours jail
  • 30 - 90 days license suspension AND alcohol safety education program

Second offense (within 5 years)

  • $600 - $1,500 fine
  • 1 year - 5 years
  • 10 days - 1 year community service
  • 1 - 2 years license suspension
  • Alcohol treatment if referred

Third or subsequent offense (within 5 years)

  • $2,000 - $5,000 fine
  • 1 year - 5 years imprisonment
  • 3 - 5 years license suspension
  • Alcohol treatment if referred

Other

Child endangerment

  • Subject to additional fines and jail time

Ignition interlock

  • Court may order following license reinstatement


Open Container Law



Mississippi does not have an open container law.



Red Light Violation Fines



  • Mississippi does not have a state law governing red light fines.
  • Red light cameras are prohibited.


Construction Zone Penalties



Speeding violations when workers are present are subject to a $250 enhanced fine for a first offense, and two times the original fine for subsequent offenses.



Turn Signal Information



Signal your intention to turn or change lanes for a reasonable distance before turning.



Hazard Light Information



Hazard light use is permitted.



Funeral Procession Right-of-Way Laws



  • When the funeral lead vehicle lawfully enters an intersection, either by reason of a traffic control device or at the direction of law enforcement personnel, the remaining vehicles in the funeral procession may follow through the intersection regardless of any traffic control devices or right-of-way provisions prescribed by state or local law.
  • Shall have the right-of-way at intersections regardless of traffic control devices, subject to the following conditions and exceptions:
    • Vehicles in a funeral procession shall yield the right-of-way to an approaching emergency vehicle giving an audible or visible signal.
    • Vehicles in a funeral procession shall yield the right-of-way when directed to do so by a police officer.
    • Vehicles in a funeral procession must exercise due care when participating in a funeral procession.
  • Are not required to allow sufficient space enabling any other vehicle to enter and occupy such space without danger.

Vehicles not in a funeral procession:

  • Shall yield the right-of-way to any vehicle which is part of a funeral procession being led by a funeral escort vehicle or a funeral lead vehicle.


School Bus Laws



Requirements

  • Vehicles are required to stop unless the school bus is on a different roadway of a highway with 4 or more lanes, or stopped in a loading zone adjacent to a controlled access highway where pedestrians are not permitted to cross the roadway.
  • Vehicles must stop at least 10 feet from the school bus.

Penalties

  • Failure to stop and remain stopped when required will result in a $350 - $750 fine, up to 1 year imprisonment, or both.


Bicyclist Passing Distance



A 3-foot minimum passing distance is required.



Motorcycle Laws



Licensing

  • A restricted motorcycle license can be issued to any applicant who fulfills all the requirements necessary to obtain such a license. The license allows the person to operate a motorcycle and no other motor vehicle.
  • A motorcycle endorsement may be issued to any person who holds a valid Mississippi driver's license and meets the requirements for endorsement.

Protective Gear

  • All riders of a motorcycle or motor scooter are required to wear a crash helmet that is designed, inspected, and approved by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators.

Headlights

  • Daytime headlight use is not required.

Sharing the Road

  • Lane splitting is not authorized.
  • Motorcycles traveling side-by-side in a single lane is not addressed in state law.


Using the Shoulder to Pass



You may not drive off the roadway to pass on the right.



Passing Laws



Do not pass:

  • When approaching or upon a hill or curve
  • When approaching within 100 feet of or traversing any intersection or railroad grade crossing
  • When approaching within 100 feet of any bridge, viaduct, or tunnel

When being passed:

  • Give way to the right in favor of the overtaking vehicle
  • The overtaking vehicle may signal by honking its horn
  • Do not increase the speed of your vehicle until completely passed by the overtaking vehicle


Speed Limits



  • 70 mph on interstate highways or on controlled-access highways with four or more lanes;
  • 65 mph on all other highways.


Safety Belt and Child Safety Seat Laws



Safety Belts

  • Occupants 7 and older in the front seat must wear safety belts.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for belt law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $25.

Child Seats

  • Children 3 years and younger must be in a child restraint.
  • Children 4 - 6 and either less than 57 inches or less than 65 pounds must be in a booster seat.
  • Children 6 years and younger who either weigh 65 pounds or more or who are 57 inches or taller must be restrained, and may use an adult safety belt.
  • Police may stop vehicles solely for child seat law violations.
  • The fine for a first offense is $25.


Emergency Vehicle Laws



Move Over

  • When you see any of these vehicles displaying flashing lights while stopped on or adjacent to the roadway:
    • Emergency vehicle
    • Recovery vehicle
    • Utility service vehicle
    • Highway maintenance vehicle
  • You must do the following:
    • If on a highway with at least 4 lanes, 2 of which are proceeding in the same direction as the approaching vehicle, and it is safe to do so, make a lane change into a lane not adjacent to that of the authorized emergency vehicle, if possible with due regard to safety and traffic condition.
    • If changing lanes would be impossible or unsafe, reduce the speed of the vehicle, maintaining a safe speed for road conditions and being prepared to stop.

Following

  • Do not follow a fire apparatus traveling in response to a fire alarm closer than 500 feet, or drive into or park within the block where the fire apparatus has stopped in answer to a fire alarm.
  • Do not follow a moving ambulance that is engaged in an emergency medical call closer than 500 feet, or park within 200 feet of where the ambulance has stopped at the scene of an ambulance call.

Collision Procedures

  • Stop at the scene or as close as possible without obstructing traffic more than necessary, and remain at the scene until all requirements are fulfilled
  • If the crash resulted in injury, death, or property damage of $500 or more, you must report the accident immediately to the local police department, sheriff's office, or highway patrol. If the driver is unable to make the report, any other occupant of the vehicle who is able to must do so.
  • You must provide the following information to any other person involved in the accident, or any police officer at the scene of the crash:
    • Driver's name and address
    • Vehicle registration number
    • Show driver's license upon request
  • Provide assistance to any injured person, including transporting them or making arrangements for transportation to a hospital or doctor, if necessary or requested.
  • Unattended vehicle or property
    • If you have collided with a vehicle that is unattended, locate and notify the operator or owner of the driver's name and address, the owner's name and address, and the circumstances of the accident. If you are unable to do so, leave a written notice providing this information.
    • If you have collided with other unattended property on or adjacent to a highway, locate and notify the owner if possible of the driver's name and address, the vehicle registration number, and show your driver's license if requested.
  • If the driver is physically incapable of making an immediate or a written report of the crash, any other occupant of the vehicle who is capable of making a report must do so.


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