Fatal wrong-way crashes on divided highways are an age-old problem.
According to AAA, it's a problem that's only getting worse.
These crashes are often catastrophic because they are, by definition, head-on collisions (occurring on highways with a median strip between lanes going in opposite directions).
The AAA reports that in the last period for which they have data, 2015-2018, the number of fatal wrong-way crashes rose an alarming 34%.
During those years, 2,008 such crashes were recorded in the U.S. – or approximately 500 per year. During the previous period, roughly 375 fatal crashes were recorded annually.
The cause of the steep rise?
Traffic safety experts cite three reasons:
- Drunk driving (drivers over the legal limit are hundreds of times more likely to die in a wrong-way accident than a sober driver)
- Driving without a passenger
- Older age (70+ years old)
So, what can be done to reverse these trends?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) is calling for the mandatory use of ignition interlock devices on the vehicles of anyone convicted of drunk driving.
These devices measure alcohol levels in a user's breath, preventing an intoxicated driver from starting their car.
NTSB is also asking for what they call "high-level visibility enforcement events" to discourage drunk driving, as well as vastly improved signage systems in locations where a driver might mistakenly enter a roadway traveling in the wrong direction.
The AAA is also calling on drivers to avoid driving when drowsy – another leading cause of driver mistakes.
If you or a loved one are ever in a car accident in Connecticut, know that the Connecticut car accident lawyers at RisCassi & Davis have been assisting people like you who've been injured in these accidents for over 60 years. And we have received both state and national recognition for our work in this area. If you are ever injured in an accident of any kind and would like a free consultation with one of our Connecticut injury lawyers, please contact us. There is no obligation.