Over the last few years, Florida has seen an alarming spike in the number
of devastating wrong-way crashes on highway on and off ramps. Now, new
measures are being taken to help curtail the occurrence of these collisions.
According to the
Tampa Tribune, efforts to stop these accidents began in May of last year with the placement
of car-sized pavement markings and other signage to alert drivers that
they are traveling the wrong way. The Florida Department of Transportation
(FDOT), however, has since teamed up with the University of South Florida’s
Center for Urban Transportation Research to study the effectiveness of
more sophisticated efforts: systems of sensors, cameras, and flashing
lights that detect when drivers are traveling the wrong way.
These surveillance systems—which are solar powered—emit rapidly
flashing red lights at drivers when they detect a vehicle traveling the
wrong way on an on or off ramp. Researchers from the University of South
Florida will then monitor how effective the placement of the sensors are,
if they need to be adjusted, and how they are affecting the occurrence
of collisions overall compared to existing data.
An Alarming Rate of Collisions
According to the
Tribune's report, the counties of Hillsborough, Hernando, Pasco, and Pinellas
experienced 19 wrong-way crashes from 2010 to 2013. In 2014, the number
jumped to 12 in a single year. Even in the first seven months of 2015,
there were 14 of these crashes. Officials have stated, however, that there
has been a dramatic decline in the last few months, indicating that a
combination of different measures has been effective.
Why have there been so many wrong-way crashes? According to reports, drugs
and alcohol appear to be a major contributing factor and drunk driving
is cited as the cause in a majority of these cases. The prevalence of
this driver behavior adds a new wrinkle to the sensor system research--
will the flashing lights be enough to alert drivers who are already inhibited
enough to be driving the wrong way? "There’s only so much that
law enforcement can do; there’s only so much FDOT can do,"
Sgt. Steve Gaskins, spokesman of the Florida Highway Patrol said. "It
comes down to driver decisions."
If you or a loved one has been harmed due to the reckless actions of a
motorist, then we invite you to contact us at
Smith & Stallworth, Attorneys at Law. Our dedicated and proven Tampa personal injury lawyers have more than
two decades of combined legal experience. Over that time, they have helped
countless injury victims and their loved ones recover the relief and dignity
Get a committed advocate by your side during this trying time. Contact
us today to request a