Several local news outlets are reporting a growing problem on Ohio roads. According to data from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT), the number of wrong-way crashes is rising at an alarming rate. Officials are seeking answers to this problem in hopes of developing a solution to this deadly phenomenon.
Wrong-way Crash Deaths Already Making Records
The ODOT report reveals that 16 deaths have already occurred this year from wrong-way crashes on local highways. With less than half of 2016 gone, it is alarming that the current total is already over double the all-year total of seven crashes in 2014. What is more disturbing is the trend in wrong-way crashes overall. In 2015, there were 553 wrong-way crashes reported in Ohio, up from 467 in 2014 and 446 in 2013.
Interstate 75 seems to be the road with the most incidents, at least half of the fatalities occurring on that interstate alone. Wrong-way crashes on highways are 100 times more deadly due to the high rate of speed and close-quarters traffic, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Drivers in the path of a wrong-way vehicle have little time and space to maneuver out of danger.
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Officials Looking at Reasons for the Increase in Wrong-way Crashes
The Dayton Daily News released a full report on the string of wrong-way crashes that have occurred most recently. The article shed light on one potential cause: suicidal drivers. Many of the crash investigations revealed that the wrong-way drivers never hesitated or braked before impact. This information has led officials to believe many of the crashes are intentional.
Investigators do not believe that all of the wrong-way crashes from this year were intentional or suicidal. Another cause in consideration is that drivers are simply confused when merging onto highway on-ramps or turning onto wrong-way streets. Officials look at the confusion as a potential product of many factors such as impairment from drugs or alcohol and advanced age. A large portion of wrong-way drivers are over the age of 70.
Ohio Department of Transportation Takes Action
ODOT officials are working with SpeedInfo Inc., a company that produces sensors to detect wrong-way drivers. Unfortunately, the technology is not reliable enough for approval. ODOT Director Jerry Wray has pledged to improve signage on one-way roads and highway entrances.
ODOT is now looking at the current placement of “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs on single-direction roads. The department will be adding more signs or moving signs to be more visible. The hope is that increased warnings can prevent some of the unintentional wrong-way drivers from entering heavily trafficked areas or at least let them know they need to turn around.
Bressman Law Provides Legal Help for Wrong-way Crash Victims
Regardless of intent, if you were in a crash with a wrong-way driver, you are entitled to seek compensation for your damages and losses. Contact Bressman Law to schedule a FREE consultation regarding your rights to file a claim against a wrong-way driver. Call one of our car accident attorneys today: (614) 538-1116.