Driving the wrong way on a one-way street can result in a serious accident. On Texas highways, however, the dangers of wrong-way driving can be far worse. Alcohol is usually a factor in these incidents; in fact, the Houston Police Department reports that almost 80 percent of all wrong-way accidents occur between the hours of 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. For those who have been injured in one of these frightening incidents, contacting a qualified Houston traffic accident lawyer can ensure that these cases are pursued effectively and vigorously in the Texas legal system.
Contributing Factors to Wrong-Way Crashes
A study published by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) in 2012 indicated that a few factors played significant roles in many wrong-way incidents and crashes.
- Analysis of available data from 2004 to 2009 showed that 60 percent of those responsible for wrong-way fatality accidents were under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash.
- Age was also a contributing factor. In the state of Texas, studies found that drivers over 65 years of age were at higher risk of these sorts of accidents; research by the NTSB showed similar results across the U.S.
- Use of illegal or prescription drugs also played a role in some of these accidents.
- Some wrong-way accidents were attributed to distracted driving on the part of one or more vehicles on the road.
- Finally, inadequate signage and poor visibility were also blamed for a number of wrong-way driving incidents in Texas and across the country.
A Continuing Issue in the Lone Star State
Wrong-way accidents occur with alarming frequency across the state of Texas. These are just a few of the most recent incidents:
- On March 5, 2016, three people lost their lives in a wrong-way accident on U.S. Highway 80 just outside Forney, Texas.
- Four members of a Texas family were killed on February 19, 2016, in Kyle, Texas. The family was traveling in their minivan when a Honda Civic struck their vehicle head-on while traveling the wrong way down I-35.
- On February 1, 2016, a driver lost his life on Interstate 45 after crashing into several other vehicles while driving the wrong way near Huntsville, Texas. Other drivers sustained minor injuries but survived.
- A wrong-way crash on I-635 in Garland, Texas, on January 30, 2016, shut down traffic for hours and caused serious injuries to both drivers involved in the accident.
For the survivors of these incidents, retaining the services of a Houston auto injury attorney can provide help in navigating insurance claims and in achieving fair compensation for injuries and losses sustained because of the negligence of wrong-way drivers.
Addressing the Problem Head-On
In the city of San Antonio, a pilot project has already been implemented to provide added protection for drivers:
- Electronic message boards have been installed that can flash warnings to other drivers in areas in which a wrong-way driver has been reported.
- Flashing lights and illumination have been added to wrong-way signs on exit ramps to ensure that drivers see these warnings before they enter the highway.
These measures have already produced results for the San Antonio area and have reduced the number of wrong-way driving incidents by approximately 30 percent since the program’s inception. The Texas Department of Transportation is also looking into repositioning warning signs statewide to improve their visibility at night. More must be done, however, to protect the safety of drivers on Texas streets and highways.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a wrong-way crash, you may be entitled to compensation for your injuries. Retaining the services of an attorney who specializes in Houston auto accident compensation cases can help you hold negligent drivers responsible for their actions and can ensure that you receive the financial settlement you deserve. Working with a Houston traffic accident attorney can help you achieve the most positive outcomes possible for you and your family during this difficult time.