Roads and parking lots at Ole Miss have become increasingly congested, as enrollment at the university continues to grow but space does not.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports more than six million automobile accidents every year in the U.S. The NHTSA also estimates that an additional 10 million auto accidents go unreported every year.
Auto troubles t The University of Mississippi are increasingly contributing to those statistics. As of Sept. 24, 99 motor vehicle incidents – including accidents, hit-and-runs and property damage – had occurred on campus during the month of September, according to the Automated Records Management System (ARMS) web portal maintained by the University Police Department.
Records for 2011 indicate that 112 incident reports were filed in September, compared to the 76 reports logged in September 2010.
The cause of this upward trend is the growing number of students driving on campus, according to University Police Chief and Director of Campus Security Calvin Sellers.
“We are overflowing and have way more cars on campus, and way more people,” Sellers said. “It is overcrowded, and there are going to be more accidents.”
Many students have found that their cars are being damaged while parked because of overcrowded university lots and the negligence of drivers.
“I walked out to my car one day, and I had scratches down the passenger side,” criminal justice freshman Haley Markel said.
“I called UPD to see if anyone had reported it, and no one did.”
Regulations published by UPD state that, “All accidents involving moving or parked vehicles that occur on university property shall be reported immediately to the University Police Department.”
Although UPD is aware of the growing number of hit-and-runs on campus, the department is at a loss in regard to what can be done to correct the problem.
“If we don’t know about something, we can’t do anything about it,” Sellers said.
Isacc Astill, director of Parking and Transportation Services at Ole Miss, said he believes accidents on campus are largely caused by “people not paying full attention,” and Sellers agreed.
“With as much traffic as we have, you need to stay off the telephone and drive,” Sellers said. “We are so congested that people really need to pay attention.”