2 Wrong-Way Crashes Getting Attention Of TxDOT

DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – The alarming number of wrong-way crashes in Texas has transportation safety experts looking into new ways of how to prevent such dangerous accidents.

The Texas Department of Transportation says in 2011 there were 329 wrong-way crashes statewide. 79 were in the four major North Texas counties. More than half of that number were in Dallas County.

And a study conducted two years ago found alcohol is a common denominator.  The study, conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute, shows alcohol is nearly always a factor, explained Mark Pettit of TxDOT.  “It’s as high as 75 percent of drivers are under the influence.”

Gwen Edwards knows the dangers of drinking and driving all too well.  She lost her son in a fatal car crash more than a year ago. But the pain is still with her. “Anger, yes,” said Edwards. “I still have a lot.”

In November of 2010 her son, Louis Edwards was a passenger in the car of a drunk driver who went the wrong way on I-35.

He crashed head-on with another vehicle.  Louis was the only one who died. He was only 22.  “Losing a child is a lot different than losing a mother, a father, a sister or brother,” an emotional Edwards said.

Early Wednesday morning there were two accidents caused by wrong way drivers.

One in Irving actually triggered another accident involving a fire department vehicle.

While one in Fort Worth involved a head-on collision between a pickup truck and car. That wrong-way driver is now facing a drunk driving charge.

As for Gwen Edwards, she says her grief is still hard to bear.  She’s turned to Mothers Against Drunk Driving for help and says more needs to be done to protect drivers on the road.  “The drunk driving laws keep the driver safer than it does the victim.  The laws need to be stiffer.”

An upcoming TxDOT research project will take a look a wrong-way driving countermeasures.  It will begin September 1.

The main goals will be to identify what methods are most successful in getting the attention of impaired drivers, and finding out which countermeasures are most effective in properly orienting wrong way driver, or alerting them to the fact they’re going to the wrong way.
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  • Robert L.

    Some time ago had sent a post to TXDOT and stated that they need spikes to flatten the tires of folks entering the roadway going the wrong direction. I got some lame response. Signs do not work for drunks. If folks can run into fire response units on the highway, what makes anyone think that a few signs will stop then from going the wrong way?

    With modern day electronics, there could even be an overhead baracade that would drop down to prevent and stop a car going the wrong direction.

    There has been millions spent to put a concrete barrier down the middle of 4 lane roads. Lets spend some real money and setup up some automated baracades to stop cars going the wrong way.

    This is an easy fix if we stop using 1st grade type solutions.

    • Tim

      Makes great sense to me!! i am tired of watching the news in mornnig and hearing the same thing about drunk drivers going the wrong way and hurting or killing innocent people.

    • Tim P.

      Spikes to flatten tires for wrong way drivers was tried in California. Because of the repeated and mass use of the spikes, they quickly failed to flatten for cars driving the correct way and were destroying the tires of EVERYONE. It is a great idea, but that’s it…

  • Stevethemechanic

    One way spikes work very effectively, The California incident turned out to be a defective poorly constructed spike system.

    I’d put the word out that TXDOT is seeking corporate sponsors to pay for one way spike systems to be installed on the exit ramps (the most common way a wrong way driver enters a freeway going the wrong direction) and allow the sponsor to claim that exit. THeir sign may say, Exit 341 Sponsored by Chili’s, just exit here & turn right. Or Cracker Barrell Exit # 224 1 mile ahead.
    Just my nickel’s worth

  • W Smith

    What about automatic strobe lights near the ramps simular to police car lights? When somone enters the ramp from the wrong way a detector triggers the area to light up and flash. This will get the attention of all the drivers in that area.

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