Arizona has seen a recent uptick in wrong-way collisions. This alarming trend has caused an increasing number of fatalities to Phoenix drivers. Salon.com reports that Arizona only had seven wrong-way crashes in 2014 and two in 2015. Yet so far this year, there have already been 14, and 2017 is not yet over. Learn more about the causes of wrong-way accidents, what drivers can do to prevent them, and what legal rights injury victims have after being hurt in wrong-way auto accidents.
What the State is Doing to Reduce Wrong-Way Crashes
According to Salon.com, the state is implementing a thermal camera system to target wrong-way drivers. The $3.7 million project will be focused on a fifteen mile section of the Interstate 17, which has been identified as the area where most wrong-way crashes occur in the Phoenix metro area. The thermal cameras will alert the Arizona Departments of Transportation and Public Safety to wrong-way drivers in the roadway. ADOT and DPS will then be able to alert drivers in the area. This will allow the process to occur more quickly than the current system, which relies on 911 calls from nearby drivers. Faster response times decrease the likelihood that a wrong-way driver will cause an accident.
The Legal Rights of Victims Injured in Wrong-Way Crashes
After any traffic collision, law enforcement officers and insurance companies determine who was legally responsible for causing this accident. This process begins almost immediately, once emergency medical services have been rendered. If an officer on the scene issues a citation to one of the involved drivers, this is generally used by the insurance companies as evidence of which driver was at fault. If no citation is issued, the insurance companies conduct their own investigations to determine who - or what - was at fault for causing the accident. Liability determinations are generally simple in wrong-way crashes, as it is easy to see which driver was travelling in the wrong direction. This is a violation of Arizona Revised Statute §28-644, which requires drivers to obey official traffic control devices.
When a driver is found to be liable for causing a wrong-way collision, he or she is legally obligated to compensate accident victims for their injuries and other legal losses. These can include- pain and suffering, lost wages, property damage, and other financial losses which are directly related to the accident. Often, the liable driver’s insurance company will challenge the value of the injury victim’s claim. It may devalue the driver’s pain and suffering, or claim that the injuries were caused by pre-existing medical conditions. Insurance companies spend large sums of money to train their adjusters on how to pay as little as possible on as few claims as possible. It is therefore important for injury victims to have the advice of an auto accident injury who can secure full and fair compensation for their losses. Contact an experienced Phoenix car accident attorney after any wrong-way accident. Negligent drivers must be held accountable in order to keep the roads safe for all Arizonans.