New signs wrongly show promise in injury prevention

I often write about the various crimes for which a traffic ticket can be issued and the consequences that result from them. I do this because I want to help as many people as possible who receive traffic tickets to receive a fair result. I take that responsibility very seriously; After all, this is my job. However, I would also like to inform other Florida drivers about various issues I encounter, be it new traffic laws, changes in drug and DUI laws, or about the causes and effects of driving behaviors.

There are innumerable driving behaviors that result in traffic accidents. Most of these accidents do not end in injuries to the occupants of the vehicles involved. Unfortunately, a large number of these accidents cause injuries and deaths every year. We hear or read about them almost daily. All accidents are investigated by various law enforcement agencies, especially when a death occurs. Often, accidents that result in fatality are attributed to speed, driving under the influence or reckless driving.

However, there is a type of accident that we do not hear very often, and those are accidents that occur as a result of driving on the road the wrong way. A report from the National Traffic Safety Board (NTSB) of 2012 defines driving in the opposite direction as "… vehicular movement along a traffic lane in a direction opposite to the legal flow of road traffic split high speed or access ramps. "

The reason we don't hear about this type of traffic accident as often as others is because, quite frankly, they don't happen as often as some of these other types of accidents. Although this is statistically true, they only represent 3% of accidents, they are especially worrisome because the mortality rate in road accidents is tremendously higher than that of other types of accidents. It is difficult to say with certainty why these types of accidents are much more lethal than many other types, but surely due to the fact that they are almost exclusively frontal or almost direct collisions.

There are also many conjectures about the real causes of accidents astray. An area of ​​concern is construction sites. No matter what work is being done on the roads, it is very easy to find confusing changes in traffic patterns. I know there have been times when I have not been sure of the right path to travel until I move closer to the construction site. Changing traffic patterns can be confusing enough, but when traffic is diverted in a completely different direction and the right path to follow becomes unclear, it can be very confusing and dangerous.

Another problem that can cause these horrible accidents may be that sometimes the access ramps are poorly marked. When this is combined with some of the strange access exchanges that I have seen, it should not surprise a wandering driver to think that he knows the direction in which he is traveling just to end in tragedy. Add other factors to the mix, such as poor lighting, having to go under the bridges to reach the correct ramp and signs that are not always obvious, and end with a recipe for disaster.

Research on this type of accident indicates that alcohol and / or drugs also occupy a prominent place in accidents incorrectly. In a report published by the National Traffic Safety Board in 2012, their data showed that approximately 60% of those responsible for accidents were incorrectly affected by alcohol or drugs, and ½ to ¾ of them were caused By those who have a blood alcohol content. of 08 or higher.

The drugs involved do not necessarily mean illicit drugs, but can be prescribed for various diseases. Even when the medication is taken correctly, reactions can often vary in individuals. It also takes into account how taking multiple medications affects drivers, however, there is little real data that can predict how an individual's body can react to the combination of medications.

The 2012 report is not the first study conducted by the NTSB. In fact, they have been investigating the causes and effects of accidents incorrectly since 1968. In the most recent study, they obtained their data by analyzing the information of 9 accidents that occurred in several states. Probably, the most revealing information revealed in the report was the small number of accidents that occur incorrectly, but the large number of deaths they represent.

Due to the seriousness of these accidents, the State of Florida is working on the creation of a system to try to prevent these tragedies. Currently, a pilot program is being worked on in 15 locations, including the Homestead Turnpike extension and the Sawgrass Expressway that involves adding flashing lights so drivers know they are about to move in the wrong direction. This is phase one of what many expect to incorporate a 2 phase process. The second consideration is to install multiple pop-up poles in the lane that say "incorrectly." This is for the driver to realize that he is traveling in the wrong direction and make corrections before someone is injured. So far, there have been positive comments about the program, as it has interceded 10 times, since the vehicles have tried to travel in the wrong direction.

Turnpike spokesman Chad Huff said: "I would say circumstantial evidence is pretty good that the system is having some effect on driving behavior."

Although Florida is ranked third in the country for deaths attributed to these horrific accidents, it is not the first state to try to solve this problem. Rhode Island, New York, Virginia and other states have already addressed this serious problem using similar systems or are considering addressing it by installing some type of warning system. A German car manufacturer has even taken steps to install warning systems in some of its car models. Each of these methods is different, but I have not yet seen data evaluating its success or failure rate.

Unfortunately, when I was looking for information for this article, I found dozens of car photos that had been involved in these types of accidents. Some were so horrible that they were practically unrecognizable as vehicles, and there was little doubt that the accident caused someone's death. The best hope to reduce this problem is by installing some kind of warning system that can be done economically. Central Florida will install a system in five different locations at a cost of only $ 300,000. Undoubtedly, that cost is a bargain if you consider the amount of lives you can save.

As a traffic ticket attorney, I focus on trying to help drivers who receive traffic tickets, but I would also like to help keep drivers safe. I hope the information in this article helps at least one reader avoid making this deadly mistake. However, if you received a traffic ticket for any reason, call me at 954-967-9888 for a free consultation. Our decades of experience can help you reduce or completely dismiss your traffic ticket.