There seems to be a sudden increase in wrong-way driving accidents occurring in the metro Seattle area. Not only have we have noticed more of these types of accidents being reported in the news, but lately we've received several inquires from wrong-way accident victims. So we decided to look into the matter to find out just how big of a problem wrong-way driving is in Washington State. What we discovered was somewhat surprising. Wrong way drivers present an obvious danger to all motorists on our highways. The most recent available crash statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration indicates wrong way drivers are involved in 1.
5% of all fatal crashes. In the four-county area of King, Snohomish, Skagit, and Whatcom counties—136 wrong-way crashes between 1997 and 2000 resulted in 81 injuries and 9 fatalities. On average about 350 people are killed each year nationwide in wrong-way freeway crashes, according to an analysis using the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's Fatal Accident Reporting System. From 1996 through 2000, 1,753 people died in wrong-way crashes on the Nation's freeways. Thousands more are injured. Recent Wrong-Way Accidents In The Seattle Area February 27, 2008 -I-405 near Hwy 900 -Multi-car accident -No major injuries January 29, 2008 -I-5 in Arlington -Two injured; one killed January 11, 2008 -I-405 near NE 6th in Bellevue -Two killed; one hurt January 6, 2008 -Highway 18 in Auburn -One killed; one injured November 7, 2007 -I-5 near Woodland -One killed October 9, 2007 -I-5 in South -One killed A Texas study of wrong-way accidents found that he most frequent origin of wrong-way incidents is the freeway exit ramp (i.
e., a driver travels the opposite direction on an exit ramp onto the freeway main lanes). The study also revealed that between 50 and 75 percent of wrong-way accident involve an impaired wrong-way driver who had been drinking or was under the influence of alcohol or drugs. The majority of wrong-way crashes occur in major urban areas. And the study found that wrong-way crashes are more prevalent during non-daylight hours, particularly the early morning.
Obviously there is a great need in Washington State for an increased number of wrong-way countermeasures such wrong-way signs, do not enter signs, wrong-way pavement arrows, and perhaps even a wrong-way warning system such as the one used in California.
Christopher M. Davis is the managing partner of Davis Law Group. He brings over 15 years of practical yet innovative experience to personal injury cases. He practices law in Seattle, WA. You can learn more about Mr. Davis at http://www.InjuryTrialLawyer.com or http://www.seattleaccidentnews.com.