Each year, hundreds of lives are lost due to wrong-way driving. In fact, a federal accident researcher stated that the majority of these incidents involved drivers with blood alcohol levels over twice the legal limit. Drinking and driving is a deadly combination that often leads to an accident.
DUI laws and wrong-way drivers
In December 2012, The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) met to review a study conducted by the staff about wrong-way collisions. They were also looking into recommendations on countermeasures to prevent such road accidents. In one week alone, wrong-way cases resulted in11 fatalities and nine serious injuries in eight different states. The board considered recommending that all states require those charged with DUI for the first time to use ignition interlock devices. Ignition interlock devices test your breath for alcohol and it prevents the engine from starting if it reads too high. There have been 17 states that have already implemented this policy. Laws vary per state. However, there is one thing they all have in common, and that is, the law is implicated to first-time DUI offenders, according to Deputy Executive Director Jonathan Adkins.
The board further reviewed data gathered from 1,566 crashes from 2004 to 2009. They also included nine wrong-way collisions that NTSB directly investigated. It was revealed that more than half or 59% of the incidents involve drivers with more than twice the legal limit of blood alcohol levels. Meanwhile, 10% had drivers exceed the limit that is .08. Another issue they looked into were elderly drivers, those over 70, who were overrepresented in the accidents. They made up 15% of the wrong-way drivers as opposed to 3% of right-way drivers they crashed into.
Please stay away from the left lane on one lane roads unless it is legal and safe to pass. Inadequate road signage may be a contributing factor to wrong-way driving incidents. However, the majority of the cases still involve DUI drivers. For this, it is obvious that reducing drunk driving incidents would be helpful in reducing wrong-way driving accidents. At the end of the day, any life loss due to vehicle accidents is a sad story that is especially hard on the victim’s family.
As a Kentucky Accident Attorney, I encourage drivers to invest in ignition interlock devices even when it is not yet required in your area. It will not only benefit you as the car owner but your loved ones, too. You’d be surprised at how much alcohol affects your judgement and reaction time. You may think that you are sober enough to drive, but the truth is, you may not be. Please don’t drink and drive, always be aware of street signs and always be aware of your surroundings.