Each year in Arkansas, a number of people are seriously injured or killed in accidents involving drivers who were driving the wrong way on a divided highway. The National Transportation Safety Board takes a special interest in wrong way driving due to the severity of accidents that result.
According to the NTSB, wrong-way accidents on divided highways only happen in about three percent of accident cases. Despite their infrequent nature, these accidents are much more likely to cause catastrophic injuries and fatalities than other accident types. A number of states have looked at accident fatality rates with wrong-way driving incidents. In Virginia, the fatality rate was 27 times greater in wrong-way accidents, while in California, the rate was found to be 12 times higher. Michigan found that wrong way accidents resulted in fatalities 22 percent of the time.
Through studies conducted on the issue of wrong-way driving, the NTSB has determined that in many cases, the wrong-way driver is driving drunk or otherwise impaired at the time of the accident. Approximately half of the cases involved drunk drivers. The NTSB’s research has led to its issuing a number of recommendations, including ones for the collection of toxicology evidence and the reporting and testing of it.
Motor vehicle accidents involving wrong-way drivers are often head-on collisions. A person who has been seriously injured in an accident involving a wrong-way driver may want to discuss their available options with a personal injury attorney. In some cases, it may be advisable to file a lawsuit against the responsible party or, if the wrong way driver died in the collision, his or her estate, seeking compensation for the damages that have been sustained.