The Federal Highway Administration has ranked Texas second after California for the busiest highways in the nation, as reported by the U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT). Vehicle miles traveled on Texas interstates and highways totaled 55.734 billion in a single year. A section of Interstate 35W in Fort Worth has been listed as the worst stretch of roadway by the Texas Department of Transportation, as stated by the Texas Tribune. Wrong way drivers on busy Texas highways can cause catastrophic or fatal injuries to other motorists.
Many wrong way accidents are head-on collisions that happen at high speeds with no warning or time to react. The force of impact is dramatically increased when two vehicles traveling in opposite directions collide. Wrong way crashes are more likely to result in severe or fatal injuries than other types of highway accidents, as stated by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB). Researchers have found that the death rate for wrong way collisions on controlled access highways is 27 times the fatality rate with other types of accidents.
An average of 360 lives a year are lost in wrong way collisions. NTSB has identified the leading causes of this type of crash as:
- Alcohol impairment: Driving under the influence of alcohol is the number one factor in wrong way collisions.
- Older drivers: Drivers over the age 70 account for approximately 15% of all wrong way drivers, while they represent only 3% of all right way drivers. Loss of functional abilities can occur with aging. Attention, perception, memory, cognition, visual acuity, and contrast sensitivity can all decline with advancing age.
- Drug impairment: Many illicit, prescription, and over-the-counter drugs can impair driving and lead to wrong way accidents.
- Highway design and inadequate signage: The most common way in which wrong way accidents occur is on controlled access highways when drivers enter mainline traffic lanes via exit ramps. Some highway designs are more likely to confuse drivers than others, for example cloverleaf designs. Inadequate traffic control measures, poor visibility, and lack of effective signage are also contributing factors.
Victims can suffer injuries ranging from severe to fatal in wrong way accidents. Commonly sustained injuries in this type of crash include:
- Head trauma and brain injury
- Spinal cord injury and paralysis
- Internal organ damage
- Fractured bones
- Neck and back injuries
When a negligent driver caused a wrong way crash, that driver may be held liable for the accident. In some cases, there may be other potentially liable parties. If a truck driver, delivery driver, or another employee caused the crash by driving the wrong way on the job, the driver’s employer may also be responsible.
If you or your loved one has been seriously injured in a crash caused by the negligence of another, you are entitled to seek compensation for your losses. Damages you may be entitled to claim may include past and future medical expenses, lost income, loss of future earning capacity, pain and suffering, physical impairment, disfigurement, emotional stress, and mental anguish.
You do not have to accept a lowball settlement offer from the insurance company. Our experienced Dallas car accident lawyers can assess the full extent of your losses and advise you on how to proceed. At The Lenahan Law Firm, we have the knowledge, skills, and resources to effectively pursue the compensation you deserve. Call us to schedule a consultation at (214) 295-1008.