A recent report indicates a dramatic decrease in the number of wrong-way automobile accidents in the Tampa Bay area. According to the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), there were 31 wrong-way car crashes recorded in the Hillsborough, Pinellas, Pasco and Hernando counties from 2010 to 2014. From January to July 2015, the Tampa Bay area recorded 14 wrong-way car crashes. However, the Florida Highway Patrol is reporting a recent decrease in the number of these accidents.
The recent decrease reportedly is the result of the FDOT’s new pilot program which was implemented as an attempt to thwart the issue of wrong-way drivers. In May 2014, transportation workers began painting giant red and blue interstate shields and other markings on the pavement and installed wrong-way signs near 186 interstate exit ramps in the Tampa Bay area. FDOT also installed blinking red-light sensors at three interstate exit ramps and installed 18 pole-mounted vehicle detectors along I-275. Additionally, pole-mounted warning devices have been installed along the I-275 at the interchanges associated with the exits for Fowler, Fletcher and Bearrs Avenue. This experimental system should alert wrong-way drivers through the use of its surveillance cameras, solar panels and flashing red lights. When the system detects a wrong-way driver, an immediate alert will be sent to the Florida Highway Patrol and local traffic management. Though these newly-implemented warning tactics seem to have helped decrease the number of wrong-way crashes, FDOT and law enforcement officials emphasize that total prevention depends upon the decision-making of our drivers.
Unfortunately, a large percentage of the wrong-way driving incidents involve the use of alcohol and/or drugs. FDOT reported 66 alcohol-related wrong-way driver arrests in the Tampa area between April 2014 and August 2015. In light of the predominant role of alcohol and/or drugs, a wrong way crash should include an investigation into the possible impairment of the wrong-way driver.
Have you been injured in a wrong-way car accident?
Severe and permanent injuries often occur as a result of the amount of force involved in the impact of a wrong-way car accident. If you or your loved one has been injured due to the negligence of a wrong-way driver or a drunk driver, contact the Capaz Law Firm to speak with an experienced Tampa Bay accident attorney.