Wrong Way Drivers in Maricopa County Threaten Public Safety

In recent years, there have been a large number of car accidents caused by wrong way drivers in the greater Phoenix area. Wrong way collisions are particularly dangerous as they often result in vehicles colliding head-on causing substantial damage to the front of each vehicle and often resulting in injuries to the drivers and passengers involved.

A wrong way accident occurs when a vehicle is traveling in a direction against the legal flow of traffic and strikes another vehicle or a fixed object. According to the Federal Highway Traffic Administration, wrong way crashes result in 300 to 400 fatalities every year across the nation.

Many of these accidents occur on highways, expressways, and their associated exit and entrance ramps. Thus, the vehicles involved in these collisions are often traveling at high speeds resulting in potentially deadly impacts. If the accident occurs during peak travel times, there is potential for a significant number of vehicles being involved in the crash.

Many wrong way collisions are caused by drivers who are under the influence of alcohol or drugs. According to Arizona Department of Transportation, alcohol related crashes accounted for 33% of fatalities in the state in 2015. When a driver is impaired by alcohol and drugs their decision-making skills and ability to react to obstacles on the road are severely limited. This is why many wrong way accidents are caused by drunk drivers. A drunk driver will not realize he or she is traveling in the wrong lane until it is too late, needlessly endangering the lives of countless road users.

Wrong way car accidents are also commonly caused by confusion. In some cases a wrong way collision occurs because a driver is unfamiliar with the area. For example, a driver does not notice the sign signaling a one-way street and turns down the road, or a driver who is trying to enter the highway proceeds onto the exit ramp. It is important for travelers to ensure they do their research and map out routes before hitting the road in a new city.

These collisions could be attributed to poor road construction, for example a lack of proper notice or confusing signs. However, the main culprit in these collisions is typically distracted driving. A distracted driver may fail to notice a sign signaling the direction the traffic or a texting driver may be too preoccupied to notice what the other cars on the road are doing. On average over 3000 people are killed yearly due to distracted driving.

It is important to note regardless of whether the accident was caused by drunk driving, distracted driving, or confusion, the victim or victim’s family may recover damages from the at-fault driver. Although confusion may seem like an innocent mistake, in wrong way collisions it is usually negligence, as the driver did not operate his or her vehicle with reasonable care as another driver would.

If you or a loved one has been injured a wrong way collision it may be beneficial to talk with an experienced personal injury attorney. Our attorneys at Abels & Annes, P.C. have been defending victims’ rights for years. Call us today at 602-819-5191 or contact us online for a free consultation to better understand your rights following an accident.

Prior Blog Entry:

Pedestrian Safety Remains Problematic in Phoenix, Phoenix Injury Lawyer Blog, published September 2, 2017.


Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2015, Arizona Department of Transportation, published June 1, 2016.

Wrong-Way Driving, U.S. Department of Transportation, Federal Highway Administration, modified February 1, 2017.

Distracted Driving, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

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