Wrong Way Driving Data: An Alarming Set of Information
Drivers who somehow manage to travel the wrong way on a restricted roadway such as a freeway represent a significant risk to the safety of other drivers and even themselves and the passengers in their vehicles. While wrong way driving crashes are less frequent than many other crashes, the head-on collisions that result are more likely to result in serious, life-altering injuries and deaths.
And while they are less frequent than other auto accidents, they are more common than many people think. There were 329 wrong-way crashes on Texas roads in 2011, for example. An analysis of police reports on wrong-way accidents by researchers at Texas A&M University paint a pretty startling picture of the problem.
Wrong way crashes are about five times more likely to happen in the pre-dawn hours, between midnight and 6 a.m., with the most common time being during the hour between 2:00 and 2:59 a.m., which closely coincides with the legally required closing time of most Texas bars. About half of all wrong-way crashes resulted in either a death or an incapacitating injury. That number is far higher than the proportion of other types of crashes. Nearly two-thirds of all wrong-way drivers that caused accidents were men, and more than 60 percent were found to be under the influence of alcohol and/or drugs.
Researchers also took a look at information obtained by the 911 public safety phone system regarding wrong way drivers. Among some of the more surprising things they found were that most of the time, when they dispatched police to the area where someone reported such a driver, they didn’t find one, which would seem to indicate that drives were able to right themselves somehow, or get off the freeway quickly, and that most such calls did not result in a crash.
Researchers also surveyed 29 different state Departments of Transportation and 12 Texas Department of Transportation districts, and reported on some of the ways officials are trying to prevent wrong-way driving, and their relative effectiveness. We’ll discuss those in a follow-up post.
Wrong-way driving at today’s highway speeds is an extremely dangerous problem. If you or a loved one has been injured or killed in an accident involving a wrong-way driver, contact the Texas Wrong Way Accident Lawyers at Ramsey Hill today.