In recent years Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles has reported a significant number of wrong-way accidents. Not only are these collisions occurring with increased regularity in the state, but they are also some of the most deadly and dangerous accidents on the Florida highways and roadways. Reducing the number of wrong-way accidents has become a major initiative for Florida’s law enforcement and highway safety patrols, but without the proper awareness of how prolific and dangerous these accidents are, widespread change in driver behavior is unlikely.
Causes of Wrong Way Accidents
The majority of wrong-way car accidents in Florida occur at night when posted signs about change in traffic patterns and one-way streets are harder to see. This has prompted the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles to initiate a new driving campaign called, “Stay Right at Night.” The campaign encourages drivers to stay in the far right lane when driving after dark; a tactic that law enforcement feels would prevent a number of drivers from drifting into an oncoming lane.
However, reduced visibility isn’t the only cause of wrong-way accidents, the most common problems for drivers during the daytime, such as distracted and drunk driving become more apparent after sunset. In fact, the majority of wrong-way driving accidents in the state aren’t due to unseen or hidden signs, but alternatively, because of the problems that plague drivers at any other time of day.
There are nearly 50,000 distracted driving accidents in Florida each year. That means approximately 12% of all motor vehicle accidents in the state can be attributed to this single cause. When it is dark, distracted driving, such as texting while driving or preoccupation with passengers, results in bigger mistakes and significant problems. One of these issues is wrong way driving. Of course, drunk driving is another basis for wrong-way driving. Individuals under the influence of drugs or alcohol are far more likely to miss posted road signs or drive recklessly.
Accidents and Injuries from Wrong Way Driving
Statistics from Florida indicate that there are consistently 1,400 or more wrong-way accidents in the state each year. Of these, most are head-on collisions and occur when a driver veers from the left or center lane on a roadway.
Head-on accidents are known, across the United States, to cause the worst injuries and result in the highest number of deaths. In 2015, the 1,490 wrong-way accidents in Florida accounted for 81% of motor vehicle accident fatalities. Given that there were over 395,000 crashes in total that year, it becomes apparent that wrong-way accidents are far more dangerous and deadly than any other form of reckless or negligent driving.
Increased Safety with Fewer Wrong-Way Accidents
Eliminating or reducing wrong-way accidents in the State of Florida would have a profound effect on road safety and accident statistics. Not only would it decrease the number of overall accidents on highways and roadways, but would significantly impact the number of motor vehicle fatalities each year – hence, the initiative to stay right by the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. However, law enforcement and state agencies aren’t the only entities responsible for avoiding wrong way accidents; a great deal of responsibility falls to individual drivers.
As a driver you can be aware and alert to all posted signs and instructions, including warnings of changes in traffic patterns and intersections; obey these traffic signs and all other posted signs, including speed limits and one-way road signs; and be alert to other drivers on the road that could be distracted or impaired, and heading in the wrong direction. If you do see a vehicle swerving, veering, or blatantly driving in the wrong lane, call 911 immediately.
Compensation for Wrong Way Accidents
In most wrong way accidents negligence and liability are apparent or obvious, as the driver in the wrong lane is more than likely at fault. However, this fault must be proven in court for an award of compensation and damages. Contact an experienced car accident injury lawyer who can help you strategically support the facts of your case, collect evidence, and build a strong claim against a wrong way driver. To schedule a free, initial consultation with our Miami, Florida office, call Aronfeld Trial Lawyers at 1-866-597-4529 or (305)-441-0440. Our Miami personal injury law firm can similarly be reached electronically at [email protected] or via SKYPE.