I-TEAM: Wrong-Way Crashes increasing since 2018; Drugs/alcohol big factor
(WFSB) - The crash that killed State Representative Quentin Williams was the first fatal wrong-way crash of the year.
But as the I-Team reports, wrong way crashes have been on the rise since 2019.
2022 has become the deadliest year for wrong way crashes going back the last three years.
What can be done? The state has some ideas but you, the drivers, need to take responsibility as well.
44 people have died in wrong-way crashes since 2019.
125 crashes resulting in suspected serious injuries in the same 3 years.
23 people died in 2022 alone.
Governor Ned Lamont told the I-Team, the state is working on the problem.
”We’ve put millions of dollars in flashing lights and warning signs for those most dangerous intersections,” says Governor Lamont.
In October, the Department of Transportation installed bright flashing lights on a ramp to I-84 in Southington, a wrong way hotspot.
Twenty-two more locations across the state will soon have them as well. These locations already have high visibility signs at on and off ramps.
But there’s more to be done.
”I think a lot of it is related to alcohol, sadly. Often late at night. Some of it may be related to distracted driving, airbuds and social media. I think we have to address all of these issues,” says Governor Lamont.
Crash data shows most of the wrong-way crashes occur between 11 pm and 4 in the morning.
DRIVING UNDER THE INFLUENCE:
According to the DOT, 75% of the crashes involved alcohol and/or marijuana.
”Marijuana still does impact how we conceptualize time and space, impacts our reaction time. Especially when driving a car,” says Doctor Fredrick Dombrowski of the University of Bridgeport.
The penalties for drunk driving already include jail time, so what more can be done, if anything on the state level?
”I would like to see some kind of service available, whether that be working with taxis or working with local rideshare services to provide for people under the influence,” says Doctor Dombrowski.
Doctor Dombrowski says we ultimately need a culture change that involves planning ahead.
”I’m just begging everyone, please make a plan before you go out and have any beers, to make sure that you have an opportunity to get home. As opposed to trying to figure out once the person has already been drinking,” says Doctor Dombrowski.
ADDITIONAL FUNDING FOR DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION:
The Department of Transportation also told us that “CTDOT is continuing its efforts to reduce the likelihood of wrong way crashes. Additional funding championed by Governor Lamont, Senator Fonfara, and the state legislature provided CTDOT $20 million to accelerate the installation of wrong way driving countermeasures. That includes installing wrong way detection systems with flashing lights at high-risk ramps, adding reflective markings on guiderails, and in-laid pavement markers.”
CTDOT has installed wrong-way detection with flashers at 9 ramp locations. All locations are active:
- Colchester Route 2 Exit 17 Eastbound
- Groton I-95 Exit 88 Southbound
- Milford I-95 Exit 34
- Montville I-395 Exit 6 Northbound
- Southington I-84 Exit 28 Westbound
- Southington I-84 Exit 29 Westbound
- Southington I-84 Exit 32 Westbound
- Southington I-84 Exit 32 Eastbound
- Windsor Route 291 Exit 5 Westbound
CTDOT has started installation of wrong-way detection at 7 additional ramp locations. All ramps listed below have completed trenching activities and are waiting for ordered materials to arrive to finish installation. Completion TBD.
- East Hartford I-84 Westbound HOV Exit at Silver Lane
- Groton I-95 Exit 87 Southbound (Route 349 at Meridian St)
- Meriden Route 691 Exit 8 Eastbound
- New Britain Route 9 Exit 25 Northbound
- Windsor Route 91 HOV Exit Northbound at Route 218
- Windsor Route 91 Exit 42 North ramp
- Windsor Route 91 Exit 42 South ramp
An additional 50 locations have been identified for installation by CTDOT in 2023.
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