A driver headed in the wrong direction can potentially cause severe harm; from serious injuries to fatalities. Because of this, responsible parties can be held liable and sued for wrongful death.
Texas is actually one of the leading states for wrong way accidents. TxDot recently reported that within a four-year span, there were more than 3,300 wrong way crashes causing 271 deaths. While wrong way driving occurs frequently within larger cities because of their intricate roadway systems and heavy traffic flow, the truth is that they can occur anywhere.
Research shows that many of these accidents occur because of drivers under the influence of alcohol. In fact, The National Transportation Board (NTSB) revealed that in about 69 percent of fatal wrong way accidents, alcohol was a prevailing factor.
Most collisions involving wrong way driving occur between midnight and 3:00 A.M., which many studies have linked to when people begin leaving bars. NTSB also reported that about 57 percent of these accidents occur on the weekend.
While driving impaired, people become disoriented and cannot function as they normally would. A current study found that intoxicated drivers often get tunnel vision, focusing on the road in front of them, and not pay attention to road signs.
Another study known as The Highway Special Investigation Report showed that from 2004 and 2009, in 59 percent of fatal accidents caused by wrong way drivers, their blood alcohol content (BAC) was equal to or above 0.15. This is noticeably high when considering that in the state of Texas a BAC of 0.08 or more is considered intoxicated.
However, alcohol isn’t always the cause, there are also indications that age can be a contributing factor. NTSB showed that drivers over the age of 70 are responsible for around 15 percent of wrong way accidents. This may be due to difficulty seeing signage and vision problems that occur because of age.
Luckily, there have been attempts to set in place preventative measures to limit the amount of accidents due to wrong way driving. For instance, the North Texas Tollway Authority (NTTA) created a task force dedicated to preventing wrong way collisions and took several step to increase driver safety including:
- Installing “Wrong Way” and “Do Not Enter” signage on longer entry/exit ramps and changing level of signage to under 7 feet.
- Adding reflective red tape to the aforementioned signage.
- Modifying pavement markings at several tollway crossroad service streets.
- Installing rapid pavement markers.
- Creating a wrong way automated detection system using sensors to alert the Command Center staff.
Furthermore, the Texas Department of Transportation, along with the Texas Transportation Institute, teamed up to analyze years of accidents to garner a better understanding of why drivers end up on the wrong side of the road. They concluded that wrong way crashes are often linked to exit ramps on the left side of freeways. It was recommended to cease the construction of such ramps and that any existing left side ramps should be retrofitted with reflective pavement arrows pointing in the correct direction of flow of traffic.
Other preventative measures have included an increased awareness of the consequences of driving under the influence. Texas has had an extremely well implemented campaign including Faces of Drunk Driving, Football campaigns, Holiday campaigns, and many more.
While wrong way driving can never be completely prevented, we all need to be aware while on the driving. If you see another driver going the wrong way contact 911 immediately!
You can save a life.
The Garcia Law Group is your auto accident and wrongful death specialist team.
Wrongful death and personal injury are just a few areas we specialize in so do not hesitate in taking the necessary steps to file suit. We understand the hardship that can be incurred with such accidents and are here to help you and your loved ones.
Contact us for a free consultation at 956-661-8000.