The Federal Highway Administration (FHA) reports that up to 400 fatalities on roadways result from wrong-way accidents each year. A wrong-way accident results from wrong-way driving.
Wrong-way driving occurs when a driver operates a vehicle in the inverse or opposite travel direction on a highway or freeway. A wrong-way accident occurs when the wrong-way driver collides with another vehicle that’s traveling in the proper travel direction.
The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) reports that wrong-way accidents don’t happen often. They make up approximately three percent of annual motor vehicle accidents. Although the number of wrong-way accidents seems small at first glance, the fatality rate is up to 27 percent greater than other types of collisions.
That’s why wrong-way accidents are often so serious. A wrong-way accident typically ends in a head-on collision. Those that survive a head on collision often sustain severe long-term injuries that require years of medical care, surgery, and rehab treatments. Injuries from a wrong-way collision include extremity injuries, head injuries, brain injuries, broken bones, spinal cord injuries, chest-abdomen-rib injuries, and paralysis
NTSB says that driver error is the most common cause of a wrong-way accident. Many of these accidents happen because a driver improperly enters an exit ramp of the highway. Reasons for these severe errors include:
- The driver is using alcohol, drugs, or medications (driving under the influence)
- The driver is distracted
- The driver is unfamiliar with the highway
- The ramps and road signs are poorly marked or positioned
- The road ramp design is poor
- The road has few signs or poor visibility
- The driver is tired or drowsy
- The driver has physical or mental health issues
Driver intoxication from alcohol or drugs is one of the leading causes of wrong-way accidents. Up to three-fourths of wrong-way accidents involve driver intoxication. Many wrong-way accidents happen late at night and on weekends.
If you or a loved one has been seriously injured by a wrong-way driver, contact Salter Ferguson, LLC in Birmingham, AL to discuss your potential case.