Agencies act to curb deadly wrong-way collisions

A recent influx of devastating head-on traffic collisions has prompted two Florida agencies, both of which operate toll roads, to take action in an attempt to reduce these often fatal accidents. The Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise and the Central Florida Expressway Authority are planning similar actions in an effort to alert negligent drivers and local authorities that the driver is on the wrong side of the road.

Between 2003 and 2012, there were a total of 1,173 vehicular accidents caused by individuals driving on the wrong side of the road, but two of the more recent cases have been widely publicized. One incident occurred on Aug. 23 when a doctor from Sanford was struck head on by a driver, whose blood alcohol content was well over the legal limit and who was traveling at 65 mph on Seminole County’s S.R. 417. Both drivers were killed. Two weeks later, a vehicle heading the wrong way on Interstate 275 struck a semitruck. Three in the wrong-way vehicle died.

The move to install potential head-on car accident warning systems is related to the financial burden that these accidents put on the state. Research has shown that each wrong-way accident death that occurs in Florida costs around $6.6 million. These losses include medical care, damage to property and the cost of emergency services, among other factors.

While the state must consider the financial implications of wrong-way accidents, the victims and the families left behind suffer the most. Over 50 percent of these accidents involve alcohol, but any type of negligence on the part of a driver can lead to the untimely death of an innocent individual. A personal injury attorney who has experience in wrongful death litigation can counsel an affected client on how to proceed.

Source: Orlando Sentinel, “Wrong-way crashes spur road agencies to action“, Rene Stutzman, September 27, 2014