Drinking and Driving the Leading Cause of Wrong-way Driving Accidents
From Arizona to Florida, wrong-way drivers are killing innocent people by traveling the wrong direction on major highways and interstates. The nation has taken notice of this in the wake of the March 12, 2016 collision involving fallen Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Deputy, John Kotfila, Jr. According to a survivor, Kotfila raced his cruiser around another vehicle and placed himself directly in the way of the oncoming vehicle, thereby shielding the other driver and sacrificing himself. This remarkable story of courage and heroism by a 30-year-old officer really highlights just how much our police do to keep us safe. However, it sadly also highlights just how dangerous Florida roadways have become.
Wrong-way crashes on the rise
In a 2012 report by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), seven out of nine wrong-way drivers were found to be impaired. Alcohol continues to play a significant role in the problem, with age being a close contender. According to the report, senior citizens (over 70) cause about 15 percent of all wrong-way driving accidents. Florida has a large tourism industry, higher than average number of senior drivers, and a booming hospitality industry. These factors make Florida roadways ripe for wrong-way driving accidents.
The problem is not isolated
While Florida may suffer more than its fair share of wrong-way driving accidents, it is certainly not alone. Consider that just days after Deputy Kotfila’s fatal crash, a possibly impaired driver killed herself and another driver in a Tucson crash in Arizona. These accidents underscore a national epidemic. In south Florida, 20-year-old Kayla Mendoza pled guilty to DUI manslaughter for the 2013 deaths of two Miami girls. Moments before driving head-on into the girls, Mendoza Tweeted, “2 drunk 2 care.” To make that case even worse, Mendoza was drinking at a local bar underage, despite the establishment being aware of this fact.
Understanding your rights in an accident
Many people have the wrong idea about personal injury attorneys. Some think filing a lawsuit is wrong or only drives up costs. But in truth, impaired drivers and establishments that irresponsibly serve underage or highly intoxicated people more alcohol drive up insurance costs. Worse yet, these irresponsible and intoxicated drivers injure and kill thousands of innocent people every year. In the Tampa Bay area, wrong-way accidents are becoming more prevalent, and according to the 2012 NTSB report, such accidents are as much as 30 times more likely to cause a fatality.
If you are injured in one of these tragic accidents, or if someone you love has been injured or killed due to a wrong-way driver, you have rights. You have the right to hold that person accountable and be compensated for your pain and suffering, as well as medical bills. The Romero Law Firm in Bradenton, Florida serves the interests of injured Floridians throughout the Bay area. Do not wait for the insurance company to contact you; call a lawyer who will fight to get you the compensation you deserve.