Drivers going the wrong way are especially dangerous. They may be intoxicated, asleep or for some other reason be so incapacitated they’re not fully in control of their vehicle. Those facing this danger need to act fast because the vehicles are heading directly towards each other. Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne says these accidents often cause serious injuries or deaths. To learn more about the different causes of wrong way crashes watch Joe’s video on YouTube.
Earlier this month a Fernandina Beach, Florida resident was killed when his vehicle was struck on Interstate 95 in Brunswick, Georgia, by a Federal Express semi-trailer that crossed a barrier and went the wrong way onto the northbound lanes on I-95. Two people in the truck were not injured, according to the Florida Times-Union.
Wrong way crashes cause 300 to 400 deaths annually on average, which is about 1% of all the traffic related fatalities that occur each year. Though the percentage is small, because these crashes involve head on or opposite direction sideswipe crashes at high speeds, they tend to be more severe than other types of crashes, according to the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA).
Staff from the FHWA and the Michigan Department of Transportation analyzed 110 wrong way crashes that occurred on the Michigan freeway system from 2005 to 2009. The results are that these crashes have a high chance of being “highly severe.”
32%, or 35 accidents, caused at least one fatality or incapacitating injury.
2% of all Michigan freeway crashes in the same time frame caused deaths or incapacitating injuries.
These 35 drivers going the wrong way caused 30 fatalities and 36 incapacitating injuries.
The severity of a crash was linked to how far the vehicle drove onto the highway, probably due to the speed of the vehicles involved. Only 6% of the accidents that occurred on an exit ramp resulted in a death or incapacitating injury while 42% of the crashes on the highway itself did the same.
Other findings were that:
There was a high level of driver impairment and accidents at night or early morning.
Of the 110 crashes, the impairment of nine of the drivers was unknown. For the remaining 101, wrong way drivers were under the influence of drugs in 60 accidents. Fifty-three of the drivers tested positive for alcohol or tested positive for drugs and alcohol.
57% of the crashes happened between 11 p.m. and 6 a.m. while generally only 16% of the total Michigan freeway crashes occurred during a similar late night time period.
Of the 35 wrong way accidents researchers considered “serious,” 71% of the fatal and incapacitating wrong way crashes happened from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., compared 23% percent for other serious freeway crashes in Michigan.
78% or 86 of the 110 crashes occurred under conditions of darkness, which may indicate that wrong way highway entry is the result of a confused driver and darkness may obscure many of the cues and signs that are more visible in the daytime.
Driver age was obtained for 104 of the wrong way drivers. There was a mostly equal distribution across the range of ages, with a slight increase towards younger drivers.
If impairment is factored in the age distribution changes. Of 41 unimpaired drivers 34% were age 65 or older and only 5% were under the age of 25. Generally drivers 65 or older are involved in less than 12% of the vehicle crashes in Michigan.
If you or a loved one suffered an injury due to a vehicle accident involving a driver going the wrong way, contact Boca car accident lawyer Joe Osborne at (561) 800-4011 or fill out this online contact form. You can discuss your case, how the law may apply and your best legal options to protect your rights and obtain compensation for your injuries.
Personal injury lawyer Joseph Osborne