Every year in Pennsylvania, a number of wrong-way driving accidents occur, resulting in serious injuries or fatalities for those involved. Although these types of accidents are rare, they have a much higher capacity for fatalities. As a result, the National Transportation Safety Board, or NTSB, has taken a special interest in them, studying them since the 1960s.
According to the NTSB, wrong-way accidents on divided highways happen only in 3 percent of collisions, but they have a much higher likelihood of causing deaths. Studies in several states across the nation demonstrate this, with California finding a fatality rate 12 times greater and Virginia a rate 27 times greater. Michigan found that deaths occurred in 22 percent of wrong-way driving accidents while other accident types resulted in fatalities only 0.3 percent of the time.
The NTSB began an in-depth study of wrong-way driving accidents in 1968. In their research study from 2004 to 2009, they found that 9 percent of wrong-way drivers involved a drunk or drugged driver, more than three times the proportion of right-way drivers. Many of the recommendations released by the NTSB involve approaching the problem of drunk drivers and the collection and testing of forensic evidence after the accidents.
Wrong-way car accidents can devastate the lives of the people who are struck. Victims who are injured are more likely to suffer from debilitating or permanently disabling injuries due to the accident. When a person has been seriously injured by a wrong-way driver, they may want to consult with a personal injury attorney. After reviewing the facts of the case, the attorney may then draft and file a legally grounded complaint for their client. The attorney may then negotiate with the insurance company on their client’s behalf. In some cases, they may be able to reach a settlement, while in others, the attorney may litigate the matter through trial.