A news report posted on post-gazette.com states some troubling statistics concerning the increases in fatal traffic accidents since 2019. The report states that there has been a 45% rise in fatal pedestrian accidents over the past ten years. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has also identified a significant increase in the number of deaths caused by wrong-way drivers.
The AAA study found the number of deaths caused by wrong-way drivers increased from “360 per year from 2004-09 to 430 a year from 2010-19.” Researchers discovered that alcohol impairment, traveling alone, and older age increased the probabilities of a driver driving the wrong way and causing a fatal accident.
According to Theresa Podguski, director of legislative affairs for AAA East Central, wrong-way accidents on divided highways are typically head-on collisions and are usually fatal accidents. The purpose of the AAA report
is to raise awareness concerning the terrifying rise in wrong-way accidents and how drivers can help stop the frightening trend.
The AAA study discovered that 60% of drivers who were driving in the wrong direction and caused a fatal accident had blood-alcohol levels that were higher than the legal limit of 0.08%. Drivers over the age of 70 were more prone to driving the wrong way. The study also found that when a driver had a passenger in the motor vehicle with them, the chances of driving in the wrong direction fell dramatically since the passenger can advise the driver to avoid or correct the mistake.
AAA stated that it was working with the National Transportation Safety Board (NHTSB) to inspire states to increase impaired driving prevention programs. The programs recommended include additional police sobriety checkpoints and alcohol ignition interlocks for DUI offenders.
The transportation agencies have agreed to encourage states to give driving refresher courses to older drivers and install extra signs and signals to warn motorists that they are heading in the wrong direction.
A California Department of Transportation and The University of California-Davis study revealed that red reflective markers used on on-ramps decreased the number of wrong-way driving incidents by 44%, and flashing LED lights resulted in 60% wrong-way accidents.
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