Monday, January 19, 2015

FDOT Combating the Seeming Wrong-Way Driver Epidemic?

It seems like once a month, when I read the news, there is a new story about a wrong-way driver causing catastrophic damage and injuries (sometimes even death to other drivers on the roadways): 

While accidents involving wrong-way drivers are actually relatively rare and only account for approximately 3% of accidents on high-speed divided highways (according to the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB)), the seeming influx of such accidents in the Tampa Bay area has been alarming. Wrong-way drivers killed at least 12 people in the Tampa Bay area in 2014. In fact, experts met at a Safety Summit in Tampa Bay in an effort to end the ongoing epidemic of wrong-way drivers.

The Florida Department of Transportation’s plan of attack is based on the utilization of improving technology. FDOT’s best answer, thus far, to the question of how to stop the ongoing problem of wrong-way drivers is a new system (which is currently being tested on the Florida Turnpike) which can detect when a driver is proceeding in the wrong direction on an on-ramp.

"Based on the wrong-way movement, there will be detection before the driver reaches the point of the device itself, in which case, the LED will flash all over the sign. But once the vehicle goes past the sign, there will be another detection on the back side to send a message to the traffic center." - FDOT Engineer Raj Ponnaluri.


Officials have discussed other possible plans of action including laying down spikes, and putting up trigger-able nets which would slow and stop vehicles proceeding in the wrong direction on the on-ramp. However, both ideas appear to be in their infancies and to have major flaws. Regardless, FDOT claims that there will be a plan in place to combat this problem by the end of May.

The toll left by wrong-way driving in 2014 in the Tampa Bay area alone has been jarring and unprecedented. Beside the twelve deaths, several other people have sustained serious injuries. Most of these incidents have involved drivers that were under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Additionally, wrong-way driving accidents most often (unsurprisingly) are of the head-on variety. Head-on collisions are, in this author’s opinion, the most dangerous and catastrophic type of automobile collision. When a car crash occurs, typically an object that is moving at speed strikes an object that is still and the resulting negative acceleration (more often thought of as “deceleration”) exerts unnatural forces on the human body and its inner tissues. These tissues are typically damaged by this trauma. However, in a head-on collision, these forces are doubled, as not only are the people involved being negatively accelerated by their own vehicle going from whatever speed at which they were traveling to zero, they are also feeling the resultant force from the opposing vehicle that was traveling toward them negatively accelerating in the opposite direction. It is of the utmost importance that a victim of a head-on collision seeks immediate medical care.


The injuries typically associated with these types of crashes are severe and catastrophic. If you, or someone you know, are were injured in a crash involving a wrong-way driver, call the Dolman Law Group at (727) 451-6900. We understand the special nuances of vehicle accidents and have the resources, willingness, and ability to take your case to trial if necessary. The insurance company begins their investigation as soon as they know about an accident.  Allow a qualified Clearwater Car Crash Attorney to begin investigating your most unfortunate accident if you find yourself in need.

Dolman Law Group
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765

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