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More highway safety measures needed to stop wrong-way crashes

In 2013, two 21-year-old women were killed in Florida in a wrong-way crash. State traffic officials started installing flashing signs, cameras and other warning system measures at entrance ramps.

None of these warning devices are in Volusia County on Interstate 95, though, and recently another 21-year-old woman was killed in a wrong-way crash.

The college student was a passenger in a car that was struck by a pickup truck traveling the wrong direction on I-95 near Ormond Beach.

The driver of the Prius, 29, was seriously injured in the crash. The driver of the pickup 28, suffered minor injuries. His pickup caught fire after overturning. All three involved in the accident were wearing seat belts.

It is not known how the pick-up driver ended up going the wrong way on the interstate. There is a suspicion of impairment, according to a Florida Highway Patrol sergeant. Authorities are waiting to file charges against the pickup truck driver until the results of toxicology tests are in.

According to a 2015 Florida Department of Transportation study that reviewed 280 wrong-way crashes in Florida between 2009 and 2014, 75 people were killed and over 400 were injured. In just under half of the crashes, alcohol or drugs were involved. Seventy-one percent of the wrong-way crashes occurred at night.

The warning system was installed on ten entrance ramps on the Homestead Extension and five on the Sawgrass Expressway. If a vehicle is going the wrong way or uses an exit ramp thereby avoiding the flashing signs, a picture will be sent to the command center of the Florida Highway Patrol and the traffic management center of the Turnpike.

Overhead signs can then be programmed to alert other drivers that someone is driving the wrong-way. During the first year the warning systems were in place, 14 wrong-way crashes were prevented. The program cost $400,000 to implement.

However, even when the warning system is in place, wrong-way crashes still occur. The drivers responsible for the crashes simply ignore the warning signs.

If you have been injured in a wrong-way crash or you have lost a loved in a such a crash, you have a right to seek compensation. An attorney can provide information on what damages you can seek in personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit.

Source: Sun-Sentinel, "No highway safety measures in place to prevent wrong-way crash that killed Pompano woman," Mike Clary, July 17, 2017

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