Wrong-Way Drivers and How to Protect Yourself
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July 1, 2019
It is a Behavior Issue
“Five Dead in Wrong-Way Crash,” reads the headline ”” or some variation of it ”” on local news outlets. Once again, lives are lost in Arizona because of a wrong-way driver. The latest tragedy took place at the start of the long Memorial Day weekend on I-40, west of Kingman. The Arizona Department of Public Safety said an 82-year-old Nevada man caused the head-on crash, although further details are not yet available.
Wrong-way crashes seem to happen so frequently in Arizona, the topic could easily become white noise. Instead, state leaders are engaging in more dialogue, relying on enforcement and implementing engineering tools to help save lives ”” until driver habits change. DPS continually reminds the public wrong-way crashes are a behavior issue, since a majority are caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, two out of three wrong-way crashes are caused by impaired drivers, and often those drivers’ blood-alcohol levels are more than twice the legal limit. In March 2018, following a series of deadly wrong-way crashes in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey signed a law to hold wrong-way drivers accountable. Wrong-way drivers who are under the influence now face a Class 4 felony. Drivers who are not impaired, but are caught driving the wrong way, face a $500 fine and mandatory traffic school.
Detection and Prevention
ADOT is testing a “first-of-its-kind” thermal camera detection system on I-17. In the last year, some of the 90 thermal cameras have detected more than 45 wrong-way drivers along 15 miles of the interstate ”” between the I-10 and the Loop 101 interchange in North Phoenix. In nearly all cases, ADOT states drivers corrected their error via frontage roads, and never made it to the main lanes of the freeway. Additional improvements have been made on hundreds of roadways in the metro and rural areas ”” like larger and lowered “Wrong Way” & “Do Not Enter” signs.
What to Do If You See a Wrong-Way Driver
You cannot predict when a wrong-way driver will be on the road, but you can be prepared, by driving defensively ”” especially at night ”” looking ahead for oncoming threats. Most of the time, wrong-way drivers travel in the fast lane because they believe they are in the slow lane. When a wrong-way driver is detected, ADOT lights up the overhead message boards on highways, warning drivers of the dangers ahead. If you see one of those messages, get to safety immediately by following these tips:
- Slow down
- Veer into the slow lane
- Get off the highway
- Call 911
Can We Right a Wrong?
If driver behavior changes, the statistics change for the better. It seems easy in theory, but the risks are constantly there, and they do not seem to be going away fast enough. Wrong-way drivers are not t the only threat to motorists. Research shows more than 90 percent of all accidents across the country are caused by driver error, and many of those accidents result in personal injuries ”” some life altering. Personal injuries can take a physical, emotional and financial toll. Trust the personal injury lawyers at Phillips Law Group to handle every aspect of the litigation process as they work to secure your compensation.
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