Wrong way drivers often cause serious accidents like the one that occurred recently in La Jolla. The driver in the crash was allegedly driving the wrong way on Torrey Pines Road when he crashed head-on into another vehicle. Both drivers were seriously injured and were trapped in their vehicles. Luckily, they both survived the accident, but were taken to the hospital for treatment.
Wrong Way Driving
Wrong way driving happens much too often. The cause is often impaired driving. In this case, the driver is suspected of DUI, according to San Diego police. This accident occurred at about 1:20 AM. Many such accidents occur at night, when there are few vehicles on the road. Drivers may be unable to see roadways, and are more likely to travel the wrong way on a highway ramp.
The NTSB, National Transportation Safety Board, has extensively studied wrong-way driving and provided recommendations to help prevent them. They retrieved data that analyzed fatal crashes that occurred on highway on/off ramps. On average, about 360 fatalities occur each year due to wrong-way crashes on highways. A great number of wrong-way drivers were driving while under the influence of alcohol at the time of the crash. In fact, about 59% of these drivers had a BAC (blood alcohol concentration) greater than 0.15%. The legal BAC limit in most places is 0.08%.
Prevention of Wrong Way Driving
Through the years, the NTSB has worked with other governmental agencies to provide some recommendations for the prevention of wrong way driving. These recommendations focus mainly on the reduction of incidences of drunk driving. Certainly there are other things that can be done including the improvement of lighting in dangerous areas, and improved signage that indicates drivers are going the wrong way. Unfortunately, there is little that can be done to completely prevent wrong way accidents from occurring.
Injuries Caused by Wrong Way Accidents
Most wrong way accidents are head-on crashes. Drivers and passengers in many of these incidents do not survive. The speed at which the vehicles are traveling allows little if any time to try to avoid the accident. As a result, many of these crashes happen at a high rate of speed. Those who survive may suffer severe head trauma, broken bones, neck and back injuries, and internal injuries. These serious injuries may require surgery and many months of rehabilitation. Some victims never fully recover, and some suffer disabling injuries that require long-term care.
Legal Action for Wrong Way Crash Victims
The victims of wrong way crashes, or their loved ones, may be entitled to compensation for their injuries. Legal action may be necessary against the negligent driver who caused the crash. Damages often consist of medical expenses, rehabilitation costs, and future care costs. Additionally, the victim may request compensation for pain and suffering, lost wages, loss of enjoyment of life, and other damages.
If you or a loved one were the victims of a serious wrong way crash, contact the Law Office of Patrick G. Shea for a consultation.