U-turns illegal in Hattiesburg

By Mike McDaniel - bio | email | Twitter

HATTIESBURG, MS (WDAM) - Next time you are driving around in the Hub City, you may want to think twice about doing a U-turn. Why? Because it's illegal.

"There are no U-turns in the city of Hattiesburg," said City Council Vice President Dave Ware.

It's a violation many drivers are unaware of, said Ware, until they have to show their licence and registration to officers like Lt. Michael Fleming who's written his fair share of U-turn citations.

"Some of the time we'll go out there and just write warnings, you know, courtesy citations because a lot of people aren't aware that there's a U-turn law here in the city of Hattiesburg, but it's still out there."

In fact, it's a city ordinance dating back more than 50 years. The problem comes in because there aren't many signs telling drivers not to make one.

"Even though that it's not posted, to no U-turn, they're still illegal inside the city."

It's an ordinance Ware says seems to be inconstant with the state law.

"As I understand the state law, you're allowed to make a U-turn as long as there is no designated sign stating no U-turn at a certain intersection. In the city of Hattiesburg, there are no U-turns that are allowed at all."

Since you won't find many signs along Hattiesburg streets, you would have to know the ordinance existed to know you're breaking the law and don't feel alone if you didn't know it.

"I was unaware that it was an ordinance and I have read the book or ordinances more than once."

"We do see a lot in the city, mainly at intersections. A lot of intersections on Hardy Street around Southern, USM and some of our busier intersections out West we do."

Ware says although it may seem a minor concern compared to other city issues, it still needs to be addressed and the council is working to find a solution, such as signage or amendments to the ordinance, without doing away with it completely.

"Sings would be a good thing. Of course one thing we'd look at then is where are we going to find the appropriations for that," said Ware. "Whenever we come up with a potential solution, we'll make sure that it's in the best interest of our citizens and we take public safety into account."

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