TxDOT data shows Texas leads nation in wrong-way car accidents

Common sense would dictate that any possible option to avoid or reduce a certain type of deadly highway accident would have a high priority on the desks of highway safety administrators. But in Texas, and specifically on North Texas roads, officials apparently need years of convincing to implement some measures even though the data indicates a high number of accidents related to the existing problem.

The issue involves wrong-way driver car accidents in Texas. The problem is that solutions that seem to have made a difference in other states have not had the same influence in Texas.

Texas Department of Transportation data shows that there have been close to 3,500 wrong-way crashes in the state in the last four years. The data also shows that most of these accidents are caused by drunk drivers.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended a variety of changes over the last few years to prevent these accidents. Some of the measures include:

  • Better pavement markings
  • Reducing the elevation of electronic warning signs to improve visibility to drivers
  • Red reflectors

At least a decade ago, the Texas Transportation Institute recommended that the warning signs should be lowered to better address the documented behavior of drunk drivers. One law enforcement officer says that drunk drivers tend to focus more on their speedometers and staying in their lane than looking seven or eight feet in the air where the electronic signs are typically mounted. But, even though some improvement in the number of accidents has been documented on Texas roads that have applied the measure, the TxDOT hasn’t made it a statewide effort to avoid car accidents.

Wrong-way crashes are difficult to avoid especially when the wrong-way driver is going the wrong way up or down an exit ramp with only one lane. Until state authorities make the decision to implement these safety measures, anyone who has encountered a wrong-way driver and suffered injuries in an accident may have a damages claim for those injuries.

A wrongful death suit may even be a possibility for those whose loved ones have been the victim of a wrong-way crash. An attorney in the Dallas and Mesquite area who is familiar with these dangers may be helpful in determining if any compensation can be recovered.

Source: NBCDFW, “Texas Slower to Adopt Wrong-Way Crash Prevention Methods Used Elsewhere,” Scott Friedman, Feb. 2, 2015