Last June, Efraim Carmona was so drunk that he didn’t notice he was entering the ramp to Sam Houston Tollway going in the wrong direction. Moments later he rammed head-on into the Guzman family’s pick-up truck. Five members of the family were killed in the fiery crash, including a 3 year-old boy and 11 year-old and 13 year-old girls and their parents. A 15 year-old girl who survived sustained severe head trauma, burns and spinal cord damage that has left her partially paralyzed.
34 year-old Carmona’s blood alcohol concentration (BAC) was .23 percent, nearly three times the legal limit in Texas. He was charged with He five counts of intoxication manslaughter and one count of intoxication assault.
251 Wrong-Way Wrecks in Texas in 2014
Although the head-on collision that killed the Guzman family is one of the worst, wrong-way crashes are surprisingly common on Texas roads.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT), 251 wrong-way crashes occurred in 2014, resulting in 102 injuries and fatalities. TxDOT reported an average of 165 wrong-way crashes each year from 2010 to 2013, which caused 55 to 64 injuries and deaths each year. What has caused this enormous 50 percent increase in wrong-way wrecks from the previous four years?
Intoxication is a primary factor in the most horrific wrong-way collisions. Whereas only 20 percent of wrong-way crashes involve drugs and alcohol, impaired drivers caused most of the deaths and severe injuries. Drunk drivers are not able to react upon discovering they are headed the wrong way as a lucid driver might be able to do.
Houston Implements Steps to Curb Wrong-Way Wrecks
Houston has taken effective steps to stop drivers from entering highways in the wrong direction, including bright flashing LED warning signs to alert drivers who are headed the wrong way onto an exit ramp. Even though motorists continue to start up the ramp the wrong way, most U-turn upon approaching the signs. Law enforcement has also developed a response system whereby officers block access to the ramps until they can use spike strips to stop the wrong-way driver. In addition, the city is experimenting with a radar system that would alert law enforcement that a driver is headed the wrong way so they can take immediate action.
Berenson Law Firm supports these simple measures that prevent drivers from accidentally entering the highway in the wrong direction and that stop those who do. If you have been injured in a head-on collision with a wrong-way driver, our auto accident attorney can help. Call Bill Berenson at 817-885-8000 for assistance in Dallas, Fort Worth and our surrounding North Texas communities. Your case evaluation is free.