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Wrong-Way Crashes Are on the Rise in North Carolina

Apr 27, 2016 - Car Accidents by

Wrong-way crashes may be less frequent than other types of crashes, but they often result in head-on collisions, which are notorious for serious injuries and fatalities. Yet, according to a report by ABC News, NC Department of Transportation (NCDOT) statistics indicate that the number of wrong-way crashes between 2013 and 2014 increased by nearly 67 percent. A total of 39 wrong-way crashes resulted in 54 injuries and 8 fatalities in 2014 alone.

In most cases, the causes behind wrong-way crashes are not complicated. Even though they consistently point to driver error, NCDOT is investigating roadway improvements that might help to reduce the number of accidents.

The Three Main Causes of Wrong-Way Accidents

It is difficult to imagine why drivers might miss large wrong-way signs, but they do so often enough to create alarming accident statistics. The following are three main factors that can lead to wrong-way accidents:

  • Impairment is suspected to be the most common cause of wrong-way accidents. Individuals under the influence of alcohol or drugs, as well as drivers who are distracted by cell phone use or other activities, are two examples of motorists who simply fail to notice when, for example, they are entering exit ramps on highways.
  • Senior drivers also present some risk, although to a lesser degree. Their errors may be caused by many circumstances, such as cognitive confusion, poor vision or certain medical conditions.
  • Crossing into oncoming traffic lanes is not technically considered wrong-way driving, but such accidents occur more frequently, create the same end results and have the same causes. As recently as January of this year, another ABC News report cited a deadly Fayetteville accident when a driver crossed into an oncoming lane of traffic, striking and killing a motorcyclist.

NCDOT Solutions Might Mitigate Some Wrong-Way Crashes

NCDOT is currently looking into both high- and lower-tech solutions to this problem. Currently, they are considering the use of sensors that flash warnings to wrong-way drivers, notifying police when the act continues. This approach is currently being tested in Florida. They may also put alerts on the backs of signs and even lower wrong-way signs to make them more visible to motorists.

While these solutions might prevent at least some motor vehicle accidents caused by wrong-way drivers, the causes for these crashes point to parties that might not change their behavior due to changes in signage. Additionally, even though the at-fault parties in these accidents seem to be easy to identify, proving liability in related legal cases can be quite complex.

It is important to seek representation from a Charlotte car accident lawyer with extensive experience protecting the rights of injury victims. Call us at 844-452-3688 or use our convenient online contact form to learn the next steps for any auto accident case.