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Fatal Crashes from Wrong-Way Drivers are Spiking: AAA Research includes Suggestions


AAA of CNY says there’s about 500 fatal wrong way driving-crashes annually in the U-S.  They tracked data for eight years and noticed a 34% increase from 2015 to 2018.   AAA Spokesperson Elizabeth Carey says the study also found the main causes behind the rise in deadly crashes.

“There were three things that really stood out: alcohol-impaired driving, older age, and also drivers who didn’t have a passenger in the car who might serve as a co-pilot to warn someone they might be going the wrong way.”

AAA is also working with local police agencies to increase sobriety checkpoints and signage to make drivers more aware of the dangers of driving under the influence. 

AAA works with the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and other traffic safety organizations to educate drivers on the deadly impact of wrong-way driving. In light of these latest research findings, AAA and the NTSB are urging state transportation agencies to adopt driver-based countermeasures that address these factors, such as alcohol ignition interlocks, strengthened deterrence strategies like sobriety checkpoints, driver refresher courses for older adults and the installation of more-visible signs and signals. (

Carey says anything that can impair your judgement, such as smartphone use behind the wheel is something people should be concerned about.   She also suggests evaluating older drivers.

“If mom or dad might not seem like they’re with it and you’re concerned about if they should be driving, we do driving evaluations.  Oftentimes they’re at a doctor’s request, to make sure the driver s still able to operate safely behind the wheel.”

AAA researchers say 6 out of 10 wrong-way crashes are caused by impaired driving.  They add more driver education is needed to bring awareness to the broader public.  Carey also says some people should not be driving while taking certain prescription medications.