Wrong way drivers cause hundreds of fatalities on roadways every year. In fact, Tampa Bay is one of the worst areas for accidents caused by wrong way drivers. The Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles (FDSMV) found that in 2015 alone, there were more 1,400 wrong way crashes and 96 fatalities in Florida. According to the report, three Tampa Bay counties made the top 10 list of most wrong-way crashes in the state. Hillsborough was fourth, Pinellas was sixth, and Pasco came in eighth.
Causes of Wrong Way Driving Accidents
A wrong way driving accident occurs when a driver drives into a lane of traffic that is going in the opposite direction. This can result in serious head-on collisions with cars that are going in the right direction for the lane. Wrong way driving accidents typically occur at night and can result from a number of different factors, including:
- Driver inattention
- Driver confusion
- Impaired driving
- Drowsy driving
- Improper passing on two-lane roads
- Poorly marked highway ramps
- Poorly placed signage
- Lack of visibility
The leading cause of wrong way driving accidents is the impairment of the driver by drugs or alcohol. Wrong way accidents are more likely to occur at night or on weekends, which is when most impaired drivers are on the road.
What Can be Done to Prevent Wrong Way Driving Accidents?
Local governments, including Florida, are taking steps to curb wrong way driving. Making sure that there is proper signage and clearly marked highway entrance ramps is a good first step. Some counties are also attempting to install flashing warning signs that activate if a driver goes on a ramp the wrong way. These flashing signs have been used by the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT). When activated, the signs send a signal to the Florida Highway Patrol so that law enforcement can be dispatched. Other states have tried using thermal cameras to detect when a vehicle is driving the wrong way. While it is still unclear whether these measures have led to a reduction in traffic fatalities, it is good that steps are being taken.
Contact an Experienced Personal Injury Attorney
If you’ve been injured by a wrong way driver, you may want to have an experienced personal injury attorney evaluate your case. The attorneys at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk have over 30 years of experience representing Florida car accident victims. Contact us online or call us at 800-753-5203 to set up your free consultation today.