NTSB Targets Wrong-way Crashes, Looks at Maryland Wrecks for Answers

Nearly every year, almost 400 people are killed in accidents that are caused by cars travelling the wrong way down highways and roads. Washington, DC, Maryland, and Virginia are no strangers to these destructive, terrible crashes. In fact, almost 12 Maryland residents have been killed in wrong-way wrecks in the Beltway area in the past few years.

Last year, Terry Davis was travelling on Route 50 in Anne Arundel County when a car travelling the wrong direction hit Davis’s car. None of the three teenaged occupants of the car traveling the wrong direction or Davis survived the crash.

The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), concerned by the frequency of wrong-way crashes, has looked into both the causes and possible solutions to the problem. The crashes happen most often on weekend nights, and a majority—60 percent—involved intoxicated drivers.

Solutions that the NTSB gathered are simple in design, but could help reduce the risk of wrong-way crashes in the future. On the roads, better signage and on-ramp design would help set drivers in the right direction. GPS systems could potentially warn drivers if they are traveling in the wrong direction down a highway.

The solution with the greatest impact—and one that the Maryland Department of Transportation is on board with—is cracking down on intoxicated drivers. From Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety technology (ignition systems that test for alcohol on the drivers breath before allowing the car to turn on), to tougher penalties, drunk drivers remain the focus problem to solve.

The Bethesda car accident attorneys at Lewis & Tompkins support the NTSB and MDOT in their pursuit to keep our highways safer at home and across the country.

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