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According to a recent study from AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Texas tops the nation’s list of the most wrong-way crash fatalities. Between 2015 to 2018, there were 309 deaths from wrong-way crashes. Meaning, the state accounts for 20% of wrong-way crash deaths. 

The study goes on to say that the United States averages about 500 deaths per year from wrong-way crashes. There were 2,008 deaths related to wrong-way crashes on divided highways between 2015 and 2018. This is an increase of 34% from the 375 deaths recorded annually from 2010 to 2014.

What are the risk factors for wrong-way driving?

Drivers who enter into a roadway headed in the wrong direction often lead to head-on collisions. In the grand scheme, wrong-way crashes are rare. However, when they occur, they lead to some of the most severe injuries our car accident lawyers witness. Deaths from wrong-way driving are completely preventable. Risk factors for wrong-way driving includes the following: 

  • Impairment
  • Older driver
  • No passengers in the vehicle
  • Unfamiliar with roads in a new area
  • Severe night blindness
  • Ignoring the law
  • Driving between 12:00 a.m. to 5:59 a.m.
  • Passing when it is not safe to do so

The most frequent hour for wrong-way crashes is between 2 a.m. to 2:59 a.m. This is the time that corresponds to closing times for most Texas bars. Notably, all of the above can contribute to wrong-way driving, however, the biggest factor is alcohol use. At least, 60% of wrong-way crashes in Texas involve at least one impaired driver. 

What are the common injuries that occur in a wrong-way crash?

In many cases, wrong-way crashes are head-on collisions. A head-on collision is a type of car accident that occurs when two motor vehicles impact with the front ends of each vehicle pointing towards each other. Head-on crashes are one of the deadliest types of roadway crashes. 

While there are countless severe injuries that occur in a head-on crash, one of the most significant injuries a victim can endure is direct force trauma. These types of injuries occur from the sheer force involved in the crash. A vehicle occupant can experience direct force trauma even if airbags deploy. Generally, the injuries our car accident lawyers see are direct traumas to the chest and upper torso. Injuries will typically be internal and are caused by airbag deployment or restraint from the seatbelt.

Direct force trauma Injuries include the following: 

  • Damage to the lungs
  • Shoulder joint damage
  • Collar bone fracture
  • Broken ribs
  • Abdominal injuries to the kidneys, liver, spleen, diaphragm and other organs

Those who are lucky enough to walk away from a head-on collision may not realize they’ve suffered some level of internal injury. If you’ve been involved in a head-on or wrong-way collision, it is important that you go to the doctor immediately. 

Head-on collision vehicle fires

When a vehicle is involved in a head-on collision, it usually suffers damage to the dashboard. The extensive wiring in modern vehicles may be severed and ignite fuel. In addition, if the vehicle has faulty wiring, it may short and spark a fire. 

Motor vehicle crashes that lead to a fire increase the chances of fatalities. Fires can spread into the passenger cabin fast. In these worst-case scenarios, incapacitated vehicle occupants will not be able to escape the flames and may succumb to smoke inhalation or other injuries. Even if the vehicle occupant survives the crash and the fire, there is the chance of living with lifelong injuries due to toxic gases.

What can the state do to reduce wrong-way crashes?

Texas A&M conducted research to determine best practices and guidelines to prevent wrong-way crashes. In its research, the institution found that the state can do the following:

  • Install reflectorized wrong-way pavement arrows on the left side exit ramps.
  • Install raised and improved reflected wrong way arrows.
  • Repair deficient wrong-way pavement arrows.
  • Make maintenance for wrong-way signage a priority. 
  • Consider lower DO NOT ENTER and WRONG WAY signs on the same post to address alcohol and nighttime problem locations.
  • Develop a wrong-way crash monitoring system.

What damages can I recover from a wrong-way crash?

If you were hit head-on, or a loved one died in a head-on collision, you are entitled to seek compensation for harms and losses that were the result of a wrong-way driver. The Carlson Law Firm may be able to help you recover the following types of compensation:

  • Medical bills
  • Pain and Suffering
  • Physical Impairment
  • Wrongful death
  • Funeral expenses 
  • Lost wages
  • Property damage

In addition to the standard compensation, when you hire an injury attorney to represent you in your claim, you may be able to recover punitive damages. An injured party may be entitled to punitive damages when the at-fault driver behaved in a reckless and grossly negligent way. For example, if the driver was under the influence of alcohol or drugs, the jury may want to punish the driver. 

The Carlson Law Firm Can Help

The Carlson Law Firm is a leading personal injury law firm. Our injury lawyers are some of the most experienced attorneys in their field. If you’ve been injured or lost someone you love in a wrong-way crash, call The Carlson Law Firm at 800-359-5690 to schedule your free consultation with a car accident lawyer. We are available 24/7. We care. We can help. 

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