Earlier this month, a Marine home from duty in Iraq died in metro Atlanta after being hit by a driver headed the wrong way down Interstate 20 outside of Cobb County, GA. The accident remains under investigation but police are saying they anticipate filing charges against the wrong-way driver.
The crash was yet another tragic reminder of the dangers of wrong-way driving. Shocking to many is that the I-20 accident was the fourth such wrong-way collision in Atlanta since just November. As most people would expect, such wrong-way accidents are incredibly deadly; in fact, fifty percent of such accidents result in either death or debilitating injuries, a far higher percentage than other types of interstate accidents.
According to the Georgia Department of Transportation, 22 people have died in wrong-way crashes in the Atlanta area since 2004. The Georgia DOT explored the reasons for the accidents and, unsurprisingly, impaired driving was the number one explanation. The drivers were typically either drunk or impaired due to the use of prescription medication. In a few other instances the drivers were trying to commit suicide though almost none were occasions of simple confusion.
A study out of Texas examined how such wrong-way collisions take place and found that in most cases wrong-way drivers get on the interstate through an exit ramp. In Georgia, all ramps to the interstate are well marked and include plenty of warnings saying that a driver is headed the wrong way. The DOT has considered adding spikes that collapse when drivers are heading the right way. One problem is that the spikes might hamper attempts by emergency vehicles to access certain stretches of roads.
The problem of wrong-way driving has also been noticed by the National Transportation Safety Board which recently recommended that every state in the country begin requiring ignition interlock devices for everyone convicted of drunk driving, including first-time offenders. The NTSB panel pointed to specific data that found 360 people die each year due to drivers heading the wrong way on U.S. roads. Of those involved in such wrong-way collisions, a study found that a massive 69% of the drivers responsible for the accident had blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit.
As Georgia car accident attorneys who routinely handle cases involving dangerous or intoxicated drivers, we are able to offer experienced advice regarding your legal options in such a situation. If you or someone you know has been injured in a car accident or truck wreck because of the carelessness of another driver, call the personal injury attorneys at Pope, McGlamry P.C. today to schedule a free consultation.
Source: “Federal panel tackles local problem: Wrong way drivers,” by Rebecca Lindstrom, published at 11Alive.com.
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