Illinois officials at the Department of Transportation are considering adopting new measures to prevent people from driving in the wrong direction on the state’s highways. A DOT study on the subject will come out in a few months. The talk about stopping wrong way driving has gained additional prominence after one incident last week that killed a 54-year-old employee of the Chicago Tribune.
According to police reports, the man’s car was struck by a drunk driver who was traveling in the wrong direction on the Bishop Ford Expressway. Family members said the victim was a diligent worker who was devoted to his wife and two children. The drunk driver survived the car accident and was transported to a local hospital. Police have not yet charged him with a crime in the crash.
Other states have installed safeguards designed to prevent wrong way accidents, but they have not been around long enough to determine whether they have a measurable effect on crashes, said one member of the Center for Public Safety at Northwestern University. The Illinois DOT has recorded 217 instances of drivers traveling in the wrong direction during the last six years.
Additional warnings placed on highway ramps are one proposed solution to wrong way driving, which is often the result of intoxication. Some expressed skepticism, however, whether drunk drivers would heed such measures. More advanced solutions could include an electronic monitor that could discern whether a driver has entered the highway in the wrong direction.
Drunk driving accidents are regrettable and the harm they cause, both physical and emotional, can last a lifetime. Victims and their families may be able to seek compensation for the damage caused by the negligence of another.
Source: Chicago Sun-Times, “Police: Alcohol played role in fatal Bishop Ford wrong-way crash,” Kim Janssen, April 30, 2012.