Fatal wrong-way crashes on the rise in Conn.
Conn. (WFSB) - A scary trend is on the rise in Connecticut: wrong-way drivers.
According to officials with the Department of Transportation (DOT), there have been more wrong-way crashes and fatalities in 2022 than the last three years combined.
10 people died due to wrong-way crashes in 2019, a previous high. In 2020 only four people died.
It’s only July and there have already been 11 wrong-way crashes resulting in 20 fatalities.
The latest fatal crash was this past weekend in Bridgeport. Two people died in the accident, one being the passenger of the wrong-way driver, the other being the driver of the car that was hit head-on.
Police identified the passenger as 46-year-old Ananias Castillo-Icabalzeta, of Bridgeport. The driver of the car what was struck was identified as 41-year-old Monica Wilson of Westport. She was killed the night before her birthday.
Westport mom dies in wrong-way crash on Sunday: https://www.wfsb.com/2022/07/26/state-police-two-people-dead-after-wrong-way-crash-bridgeport/
“What we’re seeing on the roads is really alarming,” says Josh Morgan of the Connecticut DOT.
With Connecticut being at an all-time high for wrong-way crashes, many have begun to wonder what is behind the mounting number of accidents.
“When you look at the wrong-way driver crashes, the vast majority of those on the interstate and those that are fatal are drivers that are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Most of these drivers are at a BAC of .2 or greater so they’re not just a little drunk, they’re really drunk,” says Morgan.
Officials and experts are now discussing what can be done to stop wrong-way drivers. Eric Jackson heads up the Connecticut Transportation Research Safety Center based at UConn.
The center collects data and analyzes crashes around Connecticut. Jackson says may times crashes often have at least one if not more high-risk factors like speeding, drugs, or alcohol. He says sometimes there is even a lack of seatbelts.
“Right now, what we’re also looking at are other states seeing this issue. Are there other states seeing wrong-way drivers? Hopefully we’ll have an answer for that soon,” says Jackson.
The DOT is getting ready to roll out a new pilot program that will put cameras on wrong way signs at 15 locations. The cameras would trigger flashing lights if a wrong-way driver is detected.
“It would activate the wrong way flashing signs, bright LED lights that would flash and hopefully stop somebody in their tracks,” says Morgan.
Researchers say no matter what the state does, in the end it comes down to drivers being responsible for their own actions.
“Our roads have not changed in the past three years. Nothing physical has changed on the roadway. The only thing that’s changed is the driver’s behavior,” says Jackson.
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