Driving the wrong way on an interstate usually results in catastrophic injuries.
Rate of Fatal Arkansas Car Accidents
Most recent statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) revealed that in 2020 there were nearly 36,000 fatal car accidents nationwide. Although the overall rate of fatal car accidents increased nationwide, Arkansas saw an almost 25% increase in deadly car crashes. Data indicates that Arkansas had the third-highest increase in fatal auto accidents nationwide in 2020. Specifically, Arkansas had 21.2 car accident fatalities per 100,000 people.
Wrong-Way Driving Accidents
Wrong-way driving refers to situations where a vehicle moves along a travel lane in the opposite direction of the legal flow of traffic. Driving the wrong way on highways and freeways has been a significant public safety concern. Despite decades of increasing signage and safety barriers, wrong-way driving continues to pose dangers to road users throughout the nation. Although these accidents account for about 3% of highway accidents because wrong-way accidents often involve head-on collisions, they are much more likely to result in serious injuries or fatalities than other accidents.
The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety reported over 2,000 fatalities from wrong-way driving accidents on divided highways between 2015 and 2018. About 52% of these fatalities were the wrong-way driver, 41% were occupants of other vehicles, and about 5% were passengers in the wrong-way driver’s vehicle.
Causes of Wrong-Way Driving on Arkansas Roads
Most motor vehicle accidents stem from driver error, vehicle issues, or environmental factors. However, certain risks increase the likelihood of a wrong-way driving accident. Research indicates that many wrong-way driving accidents involve driver error or negligence. Some factors that contribute to wrong-way accidents include the following:
- Alcohol Impairment: Accident investigators have reported that driver impairment by alcohol is a leading cause of wrong-way driving accidents.
- Older Drivers: Accident analysis by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has found that drivers over 70 are over-represented in deadly wrong-way accidents. Older adults might be at risk for wrong-way accidents because of declining visual acuity and contrast sensitivity, attention and processing issues, and memory and cognition deficits.
- Driving without a passenger: Data also suggests that driving without a passenger increases the risk of a wrong-way collision. The presence of a passenger may prevent driver distraction and drowsiness.
Further, data shows that unlicensed drivers or those with suspended licenses were more likely to be wrong-way drivers.
Liability for Wrong-Way Driving Accidents in Arkansas
In most wrong-way driving accident claims, there are two potential at-fault parties: the negligent driver or a governmental entity. In most cases, the wrong-way driver will be at-fault for the accident. However, governmental entities such as local or state municipalities may be liable in a wrong-way accident lawsuit if the accident resulted from inappropriate signage, inadequate lighting, or poor roadway design. These cases present significant challenges as victims must abide by strict procedural, notice, and evidentiary rules.
Were You Injured in a Fort Smith Wrong-Way Accident?
If you or someone you love was recently hurt in a head-on collision, the attorneys at the Law Office of Jason Hatfield can help. Our Fort Smith car accident lawyers have decades of combined experience handling all types of motor vehicle accident claims, including those involving wrong-way accidents. We pride ourselves on providing a unique form of client-centered representation, taking the time to listen to your needs before working together to come up with a strategy designed to accomplish your specific goals. We also offer free consultations to all prospective clients, so there is no risk in calling to speak with a lawyer about your case. To learn more, and to schedule a free consultation today, call the Law Office of Jason M. Hatfield at (479) 361-3575. You can also reach us through our online contact form.