Wrong-Way Accidents Carry High Cost in Lives and Damage
Seeing a driver driving the wrong way and coming at you head-on is a terrifying prospect. According to a 2009 National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report, wrong way collisions occur in only 3% of all accidents on divided, high-speed highways, but they usually cause head-on crashes and so result in serious injuries and fatalities far more often than other accidents.
The NTSB study also found that 60% of fatal wrong-way accidents involved a driver who was impaired by alcohol. The wrong-way driver involved in a recent collision in Miami-Dade County, crashing into 3 vehicles after traveling the wrong-way for a dozen miles, allegedly had a blood alcohol concentration of .189 percent - more than twice the legal limit. This horrific wrong-way accident killed 5 people including the driver.
The NTSB report also observed that:
- The number of drivers in wrong-way accidents over age 70 is over-represented which could be due to their weakening visual abilities.
- 78% of wrong-way crashes happen in the dark hours possibly due to the driver being over-tired, reduced visibility or intoxication.
- Vehicles traveling the wrong way on a highway often entered via an exit ramp, perhaps because of insufficient signage or inexperience with the roads.
With alcohol involved in so many wrong-way crashes, it's important to continue to act against drunk driving. In our own state, alcohol and/or drug use is present in 45% of wrong-way collisions (Florida State Department of Transportation report).
Florida driving under the influence laws are stringent, requiring jail time and fines along with community service and license revocation. Certain individuals who have been convicted of DUI and are still allowed to drive must have ignition interlock devices mounted on the car. These devices prevent the car being started unless the driver's breath sample does not exceed the legal limit.
Technology can help too. The Florida DOT is experimenting with a pilot program that installs special LED wrong-way signs on highway ramps. When a radar beacon detects a car that is going in the wrong direction, the lights will flash and activate messages that can warn other drivers. The system also takes photos of the offending vehicle, which are sent to police.
We must continue to do all we can to reduce wrong-way accidents, including enforcing DUI laws and installing new technology, to prevent more lives being lost.Contact Us for Help with an Auto Accident
The Law Offices of Diana Santa Maria, P.A. have the right experience with victims of auto accidents to get you the compensation you deserve. Please call us for a free consultation. Attorneys Diana Santa Maria and Laura D. Dolin, personal injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale, will fight to secure justice for you and your family. You can reach us at (954) 434-1077 or contact us via the website.