Wrong-way drivers pose an unpredictable, potent threat to motorists along West Virginia’s controlled-access highways. While accidents involving drivers traveling headfirst through oncoming traffic are a relatively small portion of accidents on divided highways at approximately 3 percent, multiple studies have shown that the chance of death is far higher than in other situations. The profound danger that this behavior represents to all law-abiding drivers has spurred ongoing investigative efforts by the National Transportation Safety Board and many state agencies.
The investigations conducted point out frequent root causes of deadly wrong-way driving. A common cause of such crashes is a driver impaired by alcohol or drugs, and the many studies and investigations conducted regarding fatal crashes under the influence contain applicable information to wrong-way crashes.
The NTSB also considers the possibility that some wrong-way collisions could be triggered due to medical issues. A driver’s impairment could be the result of side effects triggered by a prescribed medication. General declining health due to advanced age or other factors could also allow a driver to become confused and choose a wrong lane.
Despite the many recommendations issued by the NTSB to help combat the issue, wrong-way collisions on continue to claim the lives of motorists. Even if he or she survives, a person involved in one of these car accidents is exceptionally likely to sustain severe injuries. A head-on collision could leave a plaintiff permanently debilitated and in need of constant, expensive medical attention while reducing or eliminating that person’s ability to maintain an income. An attorney with knowledge of personal injury law may use the evidence of negligence presented in a wrong-way collision to help an injured party obtain a remedy.