The Alarming Rise of Deadly Wrong-Way Crashes in Connecticut
More people were killed in wrong-way accidents in Connecticut in 2022 than in the last several years. In 2019, 10 people lost their lives to wrong-way crashes, a previous high, while four people were killed in 2020. Alarmingly, 20 people have already been killed in 11 wrong-way crashes as of July 2022.
Approximately 40% of all wrong-way crashes involving deaths that occurred between January 2019 and April 2022 happened on interstate highways. Likewise, in about 7% of all wrong-way crashes that took place on the interstate, at least one person was injured.
Wrong-way crashes usually happen at night when fewer drivers are on the road, and elderly drivers have an increased risk of driving on the wrong side of the road. Additionally, most crashes involving injuries happen on local and state roads, but those on interstate highways have an increased risk of causing more deaths.
What’s Causing This Fatal Trend?
According to the Connecticut Department of Transportation’s Josh Morgan, data on wrong-way crashes uncovered that most fatal crashes and those that happened on the interstate involved drivers that were impaired with alcohol or drugs. Most of these impaired drivers were found to have a BAC level of .2 or higher, meaning that they are not just tipsy but very drunk.
Gary Eucalitto, the DOT Deputy Commissioner, echoed this statement adding that around 80% of deadly wrong-way accidents from August 2011 to May 2022 involved impaired drivers. Aside from alcohol, some drivers were found positive for Cannabis as well. The problem is that the state does not establish a limit on THC concentration as it does for alcohol. This means that the presence of Cannabis doesn’t automatically mean impairment.
Instead, police officers certified as drug recognition specialists must conduct an assessment to determine whether a driver is impaired. If yes, the driver will have their license suspended. Again, the issue here is that there’s no legal limit for Cannabis, and there’s no limit at which a driver may be deemed legally impaired.
What is Connecticut Doing About The Increase of Fatal Wrong-Way Crashes?
Connecticut’s Bond Commission has recently approved $20 million for buying special equipment developed to prevent drivers from causing wrong-way crashes. The DOT will be placing cameras on specific wrong-way signs around the state. These cameras would automatically activate flashing lights when it detects a wrong-way driver to stop the driver from moving forward.
But researchers say that regardless of all these precautions, drivers are still responsible for their actions on the road. The roads have not been changed in the last three years, and the only thing that has changed is driver behavior.
Discuss Your Case With a Seasoned CT Roadside Lawyer Now
If you or a loved one has suffered injuries in a wrong-way crash in Connecticut, please get in touch with Berman & Russo for legal guidance. You can call 860-644-1548 or send an online message to arrange your free case evaluation with our CT roadside lawyer. We can also help you navigate a wrongful death claim if a loved one was killed in a wrong-way crash.