Wrong-way driving awareness campaign set to launch
SOUTHINGTON, CT (WFSB) - More people are driving drunk in Connecticut and there’s a big increase in wrong way drivers.
The governor and lawmakers are proposing several things to make the roads safer.
The numbers are disturbing and sobering.
Connecticut now ranks third in the country when it comes to alcohol related fatalities.
When it comes to all crashes on Connecticut roads, 40-percent involve those who have been drinking and driving.
“Wrong way driving crashes in Connecticut tripled in 2022. And wrong way fatalities are up 500-percent in our state,” said Department of Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto.
The new commissioner for the state’s DOT is making road safety a top priority.
This includes cameras and flashing lights at 120 highway off ramps. These are set up to warn drivers they are going the wrong way.
“We are trying to do what we can to keep you safe. And that’s what the wrong-way driving campaign is about and that’s what these lights are about,” said Governor Ned Lamont.
The state is spending $20 million for the flashing lights, and there are plans to use federal highway safety funding for rumble strips.
In addition, legislation has been proposed to lower the legal blood alcohol level from .08 to .05.
At a recent hearing, the chairman of the National Transportation Safety Board said in 2020 more than 11,000 people were killed in crashes involving alcohol.
Most wrong-way crashes are the result of an impaired driver.
State Representative Quentin Williams lost his life that way. He was killed in January on Route 9 in Cromwell. The driver was going the wrong way and hit him head on.
“We do offer our thoughts to Q Williams but I also want to extend our condolences to so many other families that have suffered a loss and that loss is deepened because these are preventable tragedies,” said Sen. Tony Hwang.
Everyone feels these are preventable, but it will be a challenge to change people’s behaviors.
Another proposal is to include education on wrong way driving in driver’s education programs.
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