While relatively infrequent, wrong-way crashes are more likely to lead to serious injuries and fatalities when compared to other types of crashes. This is because such collisions tend to be head-on in nature. Studies by state transportation departments have shown that the likelihood of fatalities in a head on crash is 12 times greater in Virginia compared to other motor vehicle accidents and 27 times greater in California.
For NTSB purposes, a wrong-way accident is defined as driving in a direction that is against the flow of legal traffic. Additionally, the NTSB study only tracks collisions on high-speed divided highways and entrance and exit ramps
It is believed that drunk drivers and those who inadvertently mistake an entry ramp for an exit ramp or vice versa are the largest causes of wrong-way crashes. In 1984 and 1990, the NTSB conducted studies regarding repeat drunk drivers as well as the impact of drugs and alcohol on commercial truck drivers. Based on the findings in these studies, it was recommended that standard toxicology protocols be enacted to determine if alcohol or drugs were a contributing factor to a wrong-way crash.
If an individual is killed in a car crash involving a wrong-way driver, the family of the victim may want to consider pursuing a wrongful death case against the motorist who caused the accident. The family may be entitled to compensation for medical bills incurred prior to the victim dying, in addition to funeral and burial expenses and other amounts allowed by statute. The assistance of a personal injury attorney can often be helpful in this type of endeavor.