The horrific news stories keep coming one after another. Wrong-way drivers causing motor-vehicle crashes in which serious injuries and often fatalities take place.

Over the past couple of weeks, we have read of three such crashes, including one in which a wrong-way driver caused a violent head-on collision on State Route 347 about 30 miles south of Phoenix, near the city of Maricopa.

The wrong-way driver “suffered serious injuries,” while the other driver was pronounced dead at a nearby hospital.

It was even worse in a recent three-vehicle crash on I-10. The crash near Riggs Road was caused by a wrong-way driver, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said.

And then there was the recent case of a woman arrested in a north Phoenix DUI crash who was on pre-trial release in a DUI second-degree murder case from last summer.

In late July, the 22-year-old had driven her vehicle in the wrong direction on Loop 101 near Thunderbird Road. According to court records, she admitted to DPS officers that she had “consumed a Sake Bomb before driving home” and killing the other driver in a head-on collision.

According to a study by the National Transportation Safety Board of wrong-way drivers, drivers who are impaired by alcohol are the leading cause of these often deadly, typically high-speed and head-on collisions. Drunk drivers cause more than 60 percent of wrong-way crashes, the NTSB said. Other factors cited by the federal agency include:

  • Elderly drivers who are confused by signage at freeway on-ramps
  • Insufficiently large and clear signage
  • Most wrong-way crashes occur at night, which again points to problems with clear signs near on-ramps

The NTSB says that several policy changes could significantly reduce these violent crashes:

  • Require GPS systems to alert drivers when they attempt to enter a freeway in the wrong direction
  • Require drivers convicted of drunk driving to have mandatory ignition interlock devices installed in vehicles
  • Improve on-ramp signs by making them larger and more numerous
  • Implement improved freeway and interchange designs that deter wrong-way drivers

If you or a loved one has been harmed by a negligent or reckless driver, contact an East Valley attorney experienced in personal injury and wrongful death litigation.