Saturday morning at 2:00 a.m., three people suffered serious injuries on the Dallas North Tollway after the driver of a Ford pick up truck drove the wrong way and crashed head-on into a Dodge Charger at 70 MPH.
It’s terrifying — and it happens all the time.
What can be done to stop these high-speed crashes?
The North Texas Tollway Authority has tried all kinds of things — flashing lights, huge warning signs, bright LED lane markers — but this horrendous problem persists.
How could any driver miss these in-your-face alerts? You guessed it. In most cases, wrong way drivers are drunk.
NTTA engineers have devised a new method for capturing wrong way drivers before they hurt anyone. A system of sensors, cameras and communication devices allow quick detection and response by law enforcement.
Good news: this early warning detection system works. As the NTTA planned to shut down the highway to test the cameras, a real life wrong way driver entered the highway. An officer was dispatched and the driver was stopped before crashing head-on into another vehicle.
How the Cameras Work
The NTTA already has about 2,000 cameras that watch traffic. The agency rigged some of these cameras with special sensors to determine whether a vehicle was moving in the wrong direction and to send out an urgent alert to the command center. A police officer in the vicinity can then be immediately dispatched to make a stop.
In some cases, a confused driver might be issued a traffic citation and feel relieved that he was stopped before hurting himself and others. In many cases, a drunk driver will be pulled over and arrested before harming anyone. Lives will be saved and people won’t get injured.
The NTTA is pilot testing the system on six roadways throughout North Texas. In addition, the Texas Department of Transportation in Tarrant County is conducting a separate test of wrong-way cameras on Dallas-Fort Worth roads. If the systems work, this great idea will likely expand to roadways throughout our area.
We Need to Put an End to Head–On Collisions
Even after Texas implemented measures to prevent drivers from entering a highway from the wrong direction, wrong way crashes increased in Texas from 991 in 2014 to 1,015 in 2015. Looks like this year will be more of the same. 762 wrong way crashes have already occurred in 2016.
Head-on collisions are the most deadly. Nationwide, 11,104 people died in head on collisions in 2014, accounting for 53 percent of all traffic fatalities. Compare this rate to the second most fatal type of crash, when a car is hit from the side. T-bone collisions resulted in 25 percent of traffic deaths.
For the past 36 years, I have dedicated my practice to recovering compensation for injury victims. Head-on collisions are often the most horrific. Berenson Injury Law‘s clients who survive often suffer permanent and catastrophic disabilities.
My law firm is representing the victims of several head-ons now and we just concluded one for the other driver’s insurance policy’s limits and are proceeding to collect under our client’s insurance benefits now.
I support and advocate for any innovation that can help put an end to wrong-way drivers. I also use this technology to prove the ordinary and gross negligence of drivers who cause head-on collisions.
Contact my office if you have been injured in an automobile or truck collision. I’ll fight to get you the compensation you deserve.