According to the latest car accident statistics compiled so far this year by the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT), wrong-way crashes have reached an all-time high in Connecticut.
"What we're seeing on the roads is really alarming," said Josh Morgan of the Connecticut DOT in an interview with Eyewitness News 3 about wrong-way crashes.
Wrong-way accidents in Connecticut
So far this year, there have been more wrong-way car accidents in Connecticut than in the previous three years combined, according to Connecticut DOT statistics cited by Eyewitness News 3. This year, there have already been 11 wrong-way collisions in Connecticut, resulting in 20 car accident fatalities. In comparison, there were 10 wrong-way accident fatalities in 2019 and four deaths in 2020.
Wrong-way drivers are a nationwide problem
Connecticut isn't the only place where wrong-way accidents have become a serious problem. Nationwide, wrong-way collisions have steadily increased in recent years, according to a study conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
According to the 2021 study, wrong-way driving accidents caused an average of 500 deaths nationwide between 2015 and 2018, and there were 2,008 deaths in total during those four years.
In contrast, there were 375 deaths annually nationwide between 2010 and 2014 due to wrong-way accidents. That's a 33 percent increase in the annual average number of deaths due to wrong-way collisions.
Car accidents caused by wrong-way drivers happen for many different reasons, but negligence is typically a contributing factor. According to the Connecticut DOT and the AAA study, common factors include:
- Excessive drinking – In Connecticut, drunk drivers with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.2% or higher often caused wrong-way collisions.
- Drivers without a license – Nationwide, many wrong-way collisions were caused by drivers with a suspended driver's license or revoked license.
- According to the AAA study, older drivers – Drivers over 70 are more likely to be involved in a wrong-way crash than younger drivers.
- Solo drivers – Drivers without a passenger in the vehicle are involved in more wrong-way accidents nationwide than drivers with a passenger in the car.
Many wrong-way collisions also occur later at night, when there are more drunk and tired drivers on the road.
What's being done to address the problem?
In Connecticut, officials recently launched a $20 million pilot program designed to prevent wrong-way accidents, according to Connecticut Public Television. The wrong-way collision prevention program includes:
- Installing additional road signs warning drivers that they're driving the wrong way.
- Adding additional pavement markings warning drivers.
- Installing traffic cameras with sensors that trigger flashing lights if a driver is going the wrong way on a highway.
"It would be an additional warning to drivers that they are going the wrong way on the highway," Connecticut DOT deputy commissioner Mark Rolfe said in an interview with Connecticut Public Television.
How a car accident attorney can help
If you were severely injured or a loved one died in a wrong-way collision, make sure you fully understand your legal rights. Make sure you talk to a car accident lawyer from our law firm. We can explain your options and get right to work building a strong legal case supporting your injury claim or wrongful death lawsuit.
Contact our law firm and schedule a free case consultation with a Connecticut car accident attorney focused on winning your case. Make an appointment at one of our two offices conveniently located in Fairfield and New Haven, Connecticut.