Killer Crashes are NO Accident
Early Sunday morning, a wrong-way driver in an SUV crashed head-on into a station wagon, killing a 25-year-old Issaquah man. The 20-year-old young man had been driving west in the eastbound lanes of Interstate 90. The Washington State Patrol believes that alcohol was a factor in this fatal collision.
DUI Crashes Continue to Climb in Washington
That makes four DUI-related deaths in as many days in Western Washington.
556 people died in DUI crashes last year on state roads. The Washington Traffic Safety Commission cautions that the deadliest hours to be on the road are between midnight and 6 am. Unfortunately, this holds true in the recent traffic casualties. Someone driving under the influence and in the early hours of the morning were both factors in the recent horrific crashes.
Mark Medelen, with the WTSC, said that we need to quit calling DUI crashes “accidents” because there is nothing accidental about them. Somebody made the choice to get behind the wheel under the influence of drugs or alcohol. That means that every DUI crash occurred because of a bad choice. Driving under the influence is completely human error.
Deliberate Death Tolls
Impaired driving continues to be the number one cause of death on Washington’s roads today. Trooper Chase Van Cleave, with the WSP, got to the bottom line for these recent crashes, and many like them.
“I don’t know what’s going through their head at the time that makes them think they can drive behind the wheel. Last week alone in our area four people were killed by DUI collisions. They were all victims in this case, and every time I see it, every time I respond and every time we see it the first thing that goes through my head is that this was preventable.”
Trooper Van Cleave further echoed similar sentiments of the Washington Traffic Safety Commission’s Mark Medelen, when he said, ” A choice was made, lots of choices were made that didn’t have to be.” http://q13fox.com/2018/03/11/deadly-crashes-involving-drunk-drivers-continue-to-climb-in-washington/
Wrong-way collisions are relatively uncommon, occurring in only 3 percent of crashes on divided highways. But for as infrequent as they are, they are some of the deadliest of collisions, typically having a higher rate of fatalities and serious injuries, than all the other types combined. Studies by the California Department of Transportation show that mortality rates in wrong-way collisions are 12 times higher, in comparison, to all other wrecks on highways. They are 12 times more likely to kill vehicle occupants on impact.
The National Transportation Safety Board’s substantial research concluded that the majority of wrong-way drivers were impaired by alcohol. It also indicated that a few of the wrong-way collisions were caused by medical issues and a driver’s performance due to age. Although age was not the direct reason for poorer driver performance, it was associated with an increase in medical issues and prescription drug-use to treat those conditions. https://www.ntsb.gov/safety/safety-studies/Documents/SIR1201.pdf
Helpful Tips if You Encounter a Wrong-way Driver:
- Recognize a wrong-way driver immediately so that you have time to react. Always scanning the highway as far as you can see if a good safety measure, especially at night and on weekends.
- If you see headlights in your lanes, move to the RIGHT as quickly as possible. Approximately 69% of fatal wrong-way collisions involve alcohol–and impaired drivers tend to drive in “their right lane” (the left lane) to avoid attention from law enforcement.
- Make sure they can see you. Honk, flash lights, and try to move out of the way.
- Turn Your Vehicle Sideways. If you cannot get off the road, attempt to position your car at an angle. According to the NHTSA, 10% of all roadway fatalities are because of head-on collisions. Moving out of the line head-on impact, increases the chances of survival.
- Call 911. Most of these collisions occur during the late evening or early morning hours, when traffic is thinner. Never take for granted that others will see or call police for a wrong-way driver. http://blog.tapconet.com/-temporary-slug-ed2a0127-df51-4d0e-9751-96b1d63bbb8a
Over the past 3 decades, drunk driving fatalities have decreased from a person dying in every 15 minutes to one every 50 minutes, as of 2016. That’s well over 10,000 people every year dying in alcohol-impaired-driving crashes across the country. The most current year’s DUI cost analysis is 2010. It shows how drunk driving wreaks havoc on our economy, with an estimated cost of $44 BILLION dollars a year in damages and deaths. What a staggering amount of money for a problem that is entirely preventable!
The first step in correcting this financial and fatal nightmare is to encourage responsible behavior in all drivers.
BEING A RESPONSIBLE DRIVER IS SIMPLE—IF YOU ARE DRINKING, DO NOT DRIVE.
- Choose a non-drinking friend to be a designated driver before drinking .
- Don’t let your friends drive impaired.
- If you have been drinking, call a taxi or ride service. Download NHTSA’s SaferRide phone app to help you call a friend or family member, pinpoint your location, or arrange a pick-up.
- If you’re hosting a party where there will be alcohol, make sure all guests leave with a sober driver.
- Always wear your seat belt—it’s your best defense against impaired drivers. https://www.nhtsa.gov/risky-driving/drunk-driving
Our Auto Accident & Personal Injury Lawyers Are Here to Help You
Don’t let a drunk driver take you to the cleaners or an early grave! Pass these tips along to help encourage everyone you know to make smart choices before getting behind the wheel. We all deserve to reach our destinations safely.
If you or a loved one has been in an auto accident or hit by a wrong-way driver, contact Fielding Law Group today for a free legal consultation. Our team of experienced auto accident attorneys can help you recover and receive the compensation you deserve. Remember–don’t let an accident wreck YOU!
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