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Can We Reduce the Number of Wrong-Way Accidents?

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Wrong wayI see a lot of reports on motor vehicle accidents in my research for this blog. One thing that still surprises me is the number of those caused by someone driving the wrong way down a street or highway. As a matter of fact, this type of accident is gaining national attention due to its frequency.

Marc Stewart, a reporter for ABC 7 News, discovered some of the ideas that are being developed to help reduce the number of wrong-way drivers, as well as the accidents they cause. He reports:

7NEWS discovered in Texas, experiments are under way using raised pavement and bright electronic signs, even computer sensors that will send out an alert when someone is heading the wrong-way on the road.

We’ve also learned the federal government is looking at lowering some street signs to make them more visible.

That’s the word from Texas, but what about Colorado? Stewart says:

These ideas are up for consideration in Colorado, still engineers caution the need to keep these cases in perspective.

‘These crashes are highly public and very visible and people pay attention to them. But for the most part, we haven’t had a huge number of crashes from people driving the wrong way,’ said [CDOT spokesperson Stacey] Stegman.

While fatal crashes are on the decline in Colorado, drunken driving cases are level. Stegman feels by lowering that number, wrong-way crashes will be reduced.

Stegman’s assertion about the correlation between drunk driving and wrong-way crashes seems pretty obvious. Most of the reports I’ve seen on this type of accident seem to involve alcohol or some other intoxicant.

It does not take much time on Google to find examples. For instance, this one, on how the wrong-way driver in Denver just received 15 years in prison and 8 years of mandatory parole for an I-25 collision that killed the occupant of the other vehicle.

Another one died and killed the driver of the other vehicle last Sunday. Here is the video report by 9 News on the crash that happened in the Denver area:

Having been in a vehicle that narrowly avoided being hit by a wrong-way driver, I can attest to the fact that there are few things scarier than seeing a car barreling towards you, going the wrong way.

Please drive responsibly.

Image by Sara Golemon, used under its Creative Commons license.

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