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Why are Wrong-Way Car Accident Deaths Increasing?

Wrong-Way Car Accident Deaths

Deaths attributed to wrong-way car accidents are trending in a worrying direction.  AAA reports that from 2010 to 2014, there were on average 375 deaths per year related to wrong-way car accidents in the United States.  The average number of deaths in wrong-way accidents increased to 500 between 2015 and 2018. This is an increase of over 34 percent in a short amount of time.  A wrong-way accident occurs when one driver is driving on the wrong side of the road or in opposition to the traffic on that roadway.

The most recent data shows that most wrong-way car accidents occur most often as a result of the following:

  • Driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol
  • Drivers who are over the age of 70
  • Drivers who drive without a passenger

Another reason why drivers may end up on the wrong side of the road is a result of drowsy driving.

Driving Under the Influence and Blood Alcohol Contents

The AAA study that found the three main causes of wrong-way accidents also found that 60 percent of wrong-way accidents involved a driver with a blood alcohol content of over 0.8 per cent.  This is the legal blood alcohol content limit in most states.

Since driving under the influence plays such a large factor in causing wrong-way crashes, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has called for anyone convicted of drunk driving to have an ignition interlock device installed in their vehicle.  The NTSB has also advocated for high-visibility enforcement events to discourage driving under the influence.  Additionally, the agency has also advocated for increased signage to indicate when a driver is driving in the wrong direction on a roadway. This may do little to prevent a driver from driving in the wrong direction if he or she is over the legal blood alcohol content.

Safety for Older Drivers

Another approach is to focus on keeping driving skills sharp in older drivers.  A solution may to be to mandate additional driving tests after a certain age or offering incentives for older drivers who take optional driving classes after they reach a certain age. The NTSB and AAA has urged states to enact laws that identify drivers who may be at risk medically, physically, or cognitively and to take action.  One study found that although older drivers between the ages of 75 and 79 spend less time on the road and travel shorter distances than younger drivers, they are still over-represented in wrong-way accident data.

Passengers can be Protective

Drivers should also be aware that over 87 percent of wrong-way accidents involved a driver who did not have a passenger. This suggests that passengers can help protect the driver from making a wrong turn that places them into opposing traffic, since they may alert the driver of the wrong turn when the driver has not noticed the error.  This is especially the case if the driver is drowsy or driving late at night even when there are no drugs or alcohol involved.

Atlantic City Car Accident Lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm can Help if You Have Been Injured in a Wrong-Way Car Crash

With wrong-way car accidents on the rise, more and more drivers could be victims to the mistake of another driver who is driving the wrong way on the road.  Often, the injuries associated with these types of accidents are severe or the victim may have succumbed to their injuries.   The Atlantic City car accident lawyers at the D’Amato Law Firm can provide legal guidance for the victim and family members who have been affected.  Our knowledgeable and experienced lawyers will help build your case and get the best compensation you rightfully deserve.  Call us today at 609-926-3300 or contact us online for a free consultation. With an office in Egg Harbor Township, New Jersey, we assist accident victims in Atlantic City, Linwood, Galloway Township, Cape May, Vineland, Millville, Bridgeton, Ocean City, Woodbury, and across South Jersey.