Wrong way driving is the act of driving a motor vehicle against the direction of traffic. It can occur on either one- or two-way roads (in the latter case, arising from driving on the wrong side of the road), as well as in parking lots and parking garages, and may be due to driver inattention or impairment, or because of insufficient road markings or signage. It can also occur due to drivers from right-hand traffic countries being unaccustomed to driving in a left-hand traffic country, and vice versa. Often, people also drive in the wrong direction intentionally because they missed an exit, for thrill-seeking, as a suicide attempt or as a shortcut.
It is a serious problem when it occurs on divided highways because of the high speeds usually involved. In the United States, about 350 people are killed each year in accidents caused by drivers headed in the wrong direction on the highway. Most drivers who enter a divided highway or ramp in the wrong direction correct themselves by turning around.
Germany has recently experienced an increase in fatal accidents involving drivers unintentionally traveling the wrong way, according to Mercedes-Benz. In just the past three months, more than 25 people have died due to wrong-way drivers.
To combat the problem, Mercedes‑Benz developed a new traffic-sign recognition technology that can detect no-entry signs and provide audible and visual warnings to drivers when they enter the wrong side of the road. The new feature will be added to the automaker’s existing traffic-sign recognition system and will debut on the upcoming S‑Class later this year and the updated 2014 E-Class, which just launched in Detroit last week. Other models will follow, the company said, but for the time being, the system is available only in Germany.
Traffic-sign recognition technology isn’t new. It’s been available in Europe from Audi, BMW, Ford, Mercedes-Benz, Opel and Volkswagen for several years. However, since most European traffic signs are a uniform size and shape, the technology is more accurate than it would be in the U.S., where a car’s camera would have to correctly identify a greater variety of square shapes.
Like other traffic-sign recognition systems, the Mercedes-Benz technology uses a camera on the inside of the windshield. With the new added feature, it visually identifies no-entry signs and sends the information to the car’s onboard computer. If the system senses that the vehicle is about to pass a no-entry sign, the driver is warned with three loud beeps and a red no-entry symbol lights up in the instrument cluster. To increase the system’s effectiveness, the car’s computer compares the information from the camera with data from the navigation system that can sense where certain restrictions are in place. The Mercedes-Benz traffic-sign assistance system also detects speed limits and no-passing signs as well as signs indicating when these restrictions end.
While all of this new technology may someday become commonplace, helping save lives, especially if the government begins requiring it in all vehicles, the current situation is that drivers need to be more vigilant so that these wrong side of the road collisions to not occur. Often it is driving while drunk or under the influence of drugs that is the culprit. Connecticut law prohibits driving while under the influence of drugs or alcohol under C. G. S. Section 14-227a. CT law also of course makes it unlawful to drive one’s vehicle on the wrong side of the road, specifying that it is illegal to drive over the double yellow lines into oncoming traffic under statute C. G. S. Section 14-237. Under these two statutes, in addition to criminal sanctions, double and treble damages may be imposed against an offending party who harms another with engaging in this wrong way driving if it is done recklessly, due to dangerous driving practices or while under the influence of a substance.
If you have any questions or concerns on this topic or have been a victim or a wrong way or drunk driver please feel free to contact Tindall Law Firm, LLC at 203-755-0018 or visit us online at http://tindall.webozy.net. We are very experienced in helping victims of these drunk driver or wrong way collisions recover the compensation to which they are entitled for the harms, losses and damages they suffer.