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Can technology stop wrong-way drivers?

Even though only a handful of deaths each year are due to accidents involving wrong-way drivers, you may agree that the loss of life is unacceptable. For years, law enforcement and government officials have been attempting to reduce the number of these accidents.

Lately, some places have been using technology to keep people from getting onto the highway going the wrong direction. If they do get past the warning signs, other drivers and law enforcement officials receive notice of the driver. The hope is that drivers like you can get out of the way and police can stop the vehicle before the worst happens.

How does it work?

The technology used by some cities across the country, including one here in Texas, does the following when a wrong-way driver attempts to get onto the freeway or interstate:

  • A large "Wrong Way" sign lights up with bright red LED lights flashing at a driver's eye level.
  • The system alerts highway officials and police.
  • It tracks the vehicle.
  • Ramp entrance signals may turn red.
  • Highway message boards may broadcast warnings.
  • An alert may be sent to you if you download an app that goes with the system.

Over the last few years, the system has been installed on a stretch of roadway down in San Antonio. During that time, the number of wrong-way driving crashes dropped to 162 from 269. That counts as a success in many circles since those 107 drivers who didn't get on the highway going against the flow of traffic didn't end up in head-on collisions that probably would have resulted in serious injuries or deaths.

The primary reason you don't see this technology everywhere lies in budgetary considerations. It can be expensive to install the system, maintain it and staff it. It would seem as though saving lives would be worth the cost, but if the money isn't there, it just isn't there. While governments determine whether the utility of the system makes the cost worthwhile, you could still encounter a wrong-way driver on one of Dallas's many highways.

How do you cope with the aftermath?

If you do end up surviving a crash involving a wrong-way driver, your injuries could be serious. The financial losses incurred as a result could jeopardize your ability to move forward with your life. Under these circumstances, you may benefit from determining whether filing a personal injury claim would be appropriate.

If you lost a loved one in an accident involving a wrong-way driver, your family could change forever. Again, the financial losses associated with the accident could make it difficult for you to support yourself and move on. Under these circumstances, you may file a wrongful death claim seeking recompense for those losses.

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