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Factors that lead to wrong-way crashes on divided highways

| Apr 20, 2021 | Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents

Wrong-way crashes often lead to catastrophic injuries and severe property damage. When these collisions, often head-on, occur at highway speeds, however, vehicle occupants are often fatally injured. Whether it is due to poor weather, inadequate lighting or driver error, wrong-way crashes on divided highway can be devastating, life-changing events.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety looked specifically at wrong-way collisions that resulted in fatalities. The study examined data from 2010 through 2018 as provided by the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). During the time-period, there were 3,885 deaths resulting from wrong-way crashes and the AAA Foundation noted:

  • In those crashes, more than half those killed (52.8%) were the wrong-way drivers themselves.
  • Factors such as driver impairment and older age increased the likelihood of being a wrong-way driver.
  • Passengers in the vehicle decreased the odds of being a wrong-way driver.

After examining these fatal crashes, the AAA Foundation identified three factors that could increase the possibility of a wrong-way collision, including:

  • Impaired driving: Driving aptitude can be impacted by any substance impairment – drugs, alcohol or prescription medication. For the purposes of the study, researchers noted that as blood alcohol concentration (BAC) increased, so did the odds of being a wrong-way driver.
  • Unlicensed drivers: Whether these are drivers who have not officially attained the proper training level, or licensed drivers who have had their driving privileges revoked, suspended or expired, they are more likely to cause a wrong-way highway crash.
  • Older drivers: The study found that the odds of being involved in a fatal wrong-way crash dramatically increased after the age of 70.

Serious motor vehicle collisions can lead to dramatic injuries that impact the entire family. After the loss of a loved one in a wrong-way crash fatality, the family could face emotional turmoil and financial peril. It is important to enlist the aid of an experienced personal injury attorney who can provide the guidance and answers you need.

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