An allegedly impaired driver was driving the wrong way on I-75 struck an SUV killing an entire family which was returning home to Michigan after vacationing in Florida. The tragedy occurred around 2:30 am near in Lexington in the northbound lanes of the freeway.
According to a Lexington Police officer at the scene, the force of the impact caused a fire that quickly consumed the SUV, and none of the occupants made it out of the vehicle.
The driver of the pickup was also killed in the crash, and the Fayette County Coroner believes that he was under the influence of alcohol.
Wrong-way driving (WWD) happens when a driver is driving on a freeway or divided highway traveling against the intended flow of the traffic. According to the National Transportation Safety Board, there are around 275 wrong way driving crashes each year on U.S. divided freeways and highways which is only 3 percent of the total crashes on those same roads.
However, they make up a disproportionate number of serious and fatal injuries. Out of around 5 million crashes in the U.S., there are 30,000 fatalities which means that .6 percentage of all crashes are fatalities which is far lower than the 3 percent that make up WWD fatalities.
What Makes it So Dangerous?
There are two primary reasons why WWD are five times more likely to be fatal for at least one person in the crash. First, the reaction time of the right-way driver is lessened as the car is coming toward them thus lessening the window of time to take defensive measures. Second, the impact is typically a head-on collision which often doubles the force of the impact.
Wrong-Way Driving and DUI
The top cause of WWD’s is an impaired driver. The NTSB’s study of WWD found that out of all WWD fatalities, a staggering 60 percent were from impaired drivers. This makes sense as most people don’t purposefully drive the wrong way but do so because they are not thinking clearly. Another factor is age with most of the WWD coming from inexperienced drivers and then drivers of over 70. A few of the other factors are night driving, distracted drivers or drivers texting.
What can be Done?
- Continue efforts to reduce impaired driving.
- The NTSB makes several recommendations to reduce WWD.
- Lowering the height of “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs.
- Using oversized “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs and mounting both “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs on the same post.
- Illuminating “Wrong Way” signs that flash when a wrong-way vehicle is detected.
- Installing a second set of “Wrong Way” signs on the exit ramp farther upstream from the crossroad.
- Using new technology that can cause a sign to start flashing when WWD is occurring.
- Put WWD warning alerts in the car that uses current directional GPS technology.
- Greater monitoring of drivers after the age of 70.
- Increases penalties for driving the wrong way.
Do I need an Attorney?
If you’ve been injured in a WWD or head-on accident, you need to talk to an attorney who can advise you of your rights under the law. Do not take the insurance company’s word for anything as it’s their job to pay you as little as possible.
When you call Kaufman & Stigger, PLLC, at 800 937-8443, you will immediately speak to a member of the legal team and not a message machine. You can also Live Chat with an expert who can immediately began helping you with your claim.