The Arizona Department of Transportation has studied wrong-way crashes in Arizona, between 2004-2014, the report offers insights regarding why and how such crashes occur. The report looked at 268 wrong-way crashes, 68 had fatalities. A Phoenix personal injury attorney can assist injured victims or their families. Seven people have died in wrong-way collisions so far this year in Arizona. A double fatality on State Route 51 transition ramp recently occurred less than a week after authorities say a wrong-way driver was killed when his vehicle slammed head-on into a commercial truck on a ramp linking Interstates 10 and 17.
On April 14, three Grand Canyon University students died in a wrong-way collision on I-17. The ADOT report found that wrong-way crashes tend to be more destructive. A quarter of all wrong-way crashes are fatal, that number is 1 percent for other crashes on divided highways. Further findings include the following:
Wrong-way crashes are rare, one in 10,000 crashes involves a wrong-way driver.
Wrong-way drivers tend to be impaired. Two-thirds of the drivers caught consumed alcohol or drugs. More than 40 percent of those that were impaired had more than double the legal limit of alcohol in their system. The chances a wrong-way driver is impaired are 13 times greater than drivers in regular crashes.
A wrong-way driver is more likely at 2 a.m. than at any other time of day. ADOT recorded more than 35 crashes in the hour after bar closing time. The next closest was around 20 in the two hours just prior to closing time.
Wrong-way crashes peak on Saturday nights, to Sunday mornings.
There are three times as many wrong-way crashes in July as February.
Drivers between the ages of 26 and 35 make up the largest portion of wrong-way drivers.
Two-thirds of the drivers in wrong-way crashes were men, and this is more likely for men younger than 35.
Nationally, the number and rate of fatal crashes have steadily been falling for decades, while the number of fatal wrong-way crashes has been increasing.
National trends mirror Arizona data. The National Transportation Safety Board has reported that:
- Although they are relatively rare highway occurrences, wrong-way collisions tend to be severe events resulting in fatalities, and the number of fatalities, averaging over 300 per year, has remained essentially unchanged in recent years.
- Wrong-way collisions occur most often at night and during the weekends; they also tend to take place in the lane closest to the median.
- Driving while impaired by alcohol is the primary cause of wrong-way driving collisions.
- Alcohol impairment continues to be present in about one-third of all fatal highway accidents, resulting in more than 10,000 deaths per year.
If you or a family member suffers an injury or needs a skilled attorney like a Phoenix personal injury lawyer you can trust, contact one immediately.
Thanks to our friend and contributors from the Law Office of Paul Englander PLC for their insight into personal injury practice.