Over 200 Wrong Way Accidents In Texas Each Year
Driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs is the leading cause of wrong-way crashes each year in the United States. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) data has shown that most wrong-way crashes begin when a driver enters onto the freeway by taking the exit ramp. This has led to the state agency to take more precautions by adding more signage and bright red reflective tape.
KHOU Channel 11 News reports that according to the Texas A&M Transportation Institute (TTI), an estimated 240 wrong-way crashes are occurring on Texas roadways annually. In 2017, TxDOT reports that there were 138 wrong-way crashes in Houston alone.
Another wrong-way crash happened on Sunday, July 21st when a suspected DUI driver went the wrong way on the Westpark Tollway near the Eldridge entrance ramp. In that crash two, Harris County Sheriff’s deputies were injured, and the prisoner they were transferring was killed.
According to TxDOT, Sunday night’s crash on the Westpark Tollway was the first one in 2019.
Making changes to highway and freeway ramps can potentially reduce the number of wrong-way accidents on Texas roadways, according to TxDOT spokesperson, Danny Perez. Part of the added signage will be a flashing LED sign that will let a driver know that they are traveling the wrong way.
“If a vehicle is coming up the wrong way, it’ll send a notice to our folks at Transtar, and we can interact with law enforcement to possibly get that person taken off the road,” Perez told reporters.
So far the wrong-way detection systems have been installed around the roads in the greater Houston area. Eventually, TxDOT and TTI hope to have a system that lets motorists know that there is a wrong way driver as well as the driver who enters the highway, going the wrong direction.