Road Agencies Taking Action After Recent Florida Wrong-Way Accidents
A surge in horrific wrong-way accidents on central Florida roadways has inspired some road agencies to install new signage and implement other remedies to prevent similar accidents. The Florida’s Turnpike Enterprise and the Central Florida Expressway Authority are installing larger "wrong way" signs and lowering them for greater visibility near some of the sites of recent wrong-way accidents. The agencies are also adding flashing lights to the signage in order to make them even more visible to motorists who may become confused and drive onto the wrong on-ramp.
The two agencies are also planning to add radar equipment near some of the most problematic interchanges, which would detect when a driver is heading the wrong way on an interstate on-ramp. When the radar detects that a driver is traveling in the wrong direction, it would send a signal to a local traffic center, where staffers could alert law enforcement personnel to the situation. However, it is not yet clear when these changes will go into effect, as both agencies will have to receive bids from different companies to install the upgrades.
Two recent accidents inspired these agencies to take swift action. The first involved a Sanford emergency room doctor who was killed on his way home from work by a wrong-way driver on S.R. 417 in Seminole County. The driver traveling the wrong way was also killed in the head-on collision. Two weeks later, three people traveling in the wrong direction on Interstate 275 were killed when their car collided with a gasoline tanker.
According to the Florida Department of Transportation, there were at least 1,173 wrong-way car accidents on state roadways from 2003 to 2012. These accidents resulted in the deaths of 164 people and injured 1,322 more. Mark C. Wilson, state traffic-operations engineer at the Florida Department of Transportation, said that alcohol-impaired drivers were a factor in more than half of all wrong-way accidents statewide. He also said that proposed safety upgrades may or may not have a tangible impact on these types of accidents.
"Wrong-way crashes are so random," he said. "You can’t predict where they are or how many you’ll have in a year."
If you or a member of your family is injured in an accident caused by a negligent wrong-way driver, you have a right to seek damages against that driver and their insurance company. For more information on Florida law, your rights and your legal options, contact Orlando personal injury attorney James O. Cunningham today at 877-FL-INJURY (877-354-6587) and schedule a free consultation.
James O. Cunningham
Since 1977, personal injury lawyer James Cunningham has provided effective legal advocacy to people who are injured through the negligent actions of another person or entity throughout the Central Florida area. He fights to obtain recoveries for his clients’ physical and emotional pain and suffering and pursues his clients’ personal injury cases with a commitment to excellence and impeccable preparation.