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Wrong­ Way Collisions Associated with Impaired Driving

Posted on in Drunk Driving Accidents

Illinois personal injury lawyer, Illinois wrongful death attorney, Illinois car accident lawyer,Chicago area residents likely remember hearing stories of a catastrophic wrong way collision in May 2014. A 23-year-old man under the influence of alcohol drove his SUV the wrong way on Lake Shore Drive in the early morning hours of May 1st and crashed into a taxi, forever impacting two families’ lives. The collision killed one young law student and caused severe injuries to another, leaving him struggling to survive.

Unfortunately, tragedies like this are becoming an alarming trend in Illinois. Another wrong way collision on Lake Shore Drive in 2014 killed one and injured three, a former police officer was sentenced to prison for a 2013 wrong way crash that killed two young men, and a wrong-way driver injured six people on I-94 in November 2015. Just this March, yet another wrong way accident on the Bishop Ford killed one man and injured two others. Aside from driving in the wrong lane at high speeds, these auto accidents have something else in common: drivers under the influence of alcohol.

Fatal Consequences

While wrong way collisions occur infrequently, they are almost always fatal. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) compiled a Special Investigation report estimating that, despite accounting for only three percent of highway accidents, wrong way crashes have a fatality rate of up to 27 percent compared to .3 percent for all other highway collisions. The report also found that most of these crashes occur in the left, or “fast,” lane on highways. When drivers travel in the fast lane going the wrong direction, the other vehicle often has little time to react and prevent the crash, resulting in many head-on collisions, one of the most dangerous types of accidents. U.S. statistics show that while only two percent of crashes are head-on collisions, these accidents constitute over 10 percent of all auto accident fatalities.

Alcohol-Impaired Driving a Major Factor

The NTSB report states that 60 percent of wrong way drivers were under the influence of alcohol. Because of underreporting, this number may even be as high as 75 percent of drivers. Of the impaired drivers, 59 had a high BAC of .15 or above, which is nearly double the countrywide legal limit of .08, and reaches the Illinois enhanced penalty level of .16. An additional 10 percent of drivers under the influence were still over the legal limit, having BACs between .08 and .15.

Over 30 percent of wrong way crashes happen between peak drinking hours of midnight and three a.m., with over 50 percent occurring on the weekend. Alcohol impairment causes confusion, distraction, and drowsiness in drivers, and significantly contributes to the level of carelessness required for a driver to enter a highway going the wrong direction. Adding high speeds and high speeds to the recklessness of drunk driving creates a catastrophic situation that too often leads to fatalities.

Need More Information?

If you or a loved one has been injured in an auto accident by a wrong way driver, the experienced Lake County injury attorneys at our firm can provide the representation you need. We will tirelessly work to get you the compensation you deserve from the negligent driver. Contact us at 847-662-3303 to schedule your free case consultation today.

Sources:

http://wgntv.com/2014/05/04/law-student-killed-in-wrong-way-collision-on-lake-shore-drive/

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/1-dead-3-seriously-hurt-in-lake-shore-drive-crash/

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/man-gets-8-years-for-dui-crash-that-killed-u-of-c-law-student/

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2014/04/25/former-north-chicago-cop-gets-10-years-for-fatal-wrong-way-dui-crash/

http://chicago.cbslocal.com/2015/11/09/driver-charged-in-wrong-way-crash-that-injured-6/

http://chicago.suntimes.com/news/1-dead-2-injured-in-wrong-way-bishop-ford-crash-in-dolton/

http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/SIR1201.pdf
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