Can DOT prevent wrong-way crashes?

12:11 AM, Aug 30, 2012   |    comments
  • Share
  • Print
  • - A A A +

ATLANTA -- Within two weeks, metro Atlanta has seen four wrong-way crashes, three of them fatal.

In fact, the Georgia Department of Transportation reports at least 26 people have been killed in wrong-way crashes in the past decade.

11Alive took those numbers to DOT spokesman Mark McKinnon to find out what, if anything, the DOT was doing to reduce such accidents. McKinnon said their studies show almost 95% of wrong-way crashes are caused by impaired drivers.

"We can put up all the signs we want, but if the drivers don't obey those signs, it doesn't do any good," he said.

The remaining five percent, he said, are split between suicide attempts and drivers who mistakenly take the wrong ramp.

Considering that final 2-3 percent, 11Alive asked, would clearer signage have prevented the accidents?

"We don't believe there's anything we could have done," McKinnon said. "We investigate every fatal accident very thoroughly. We go back to all the ramps they could have potentially gotten on and make sure all the signs are in place."

He added that the DOT doesn't want to oversaturate an area with signs, because drivers will ignore them.

The department has also discussed putting tire spikes on freeway entrance ramps to stop wrong-way drivers. McKinnon said the plan is ultimately not feasible because cleaning and maintaining the spikes would be nearly impossible.

Wednesday afternoon, two people were killed in a wrong-way accident on I-85 south. Last Friday morning, a wrong-way collision on GA 400 killed one woman and that night, five people were injured in another accident in Gwinnett County.

On August 15th, two more people died in another fatal accident on GA 400.

McKinnon said Wednesday's accident is still under investigation. Signage and on-ramps will be inspected, he said.

Most Watched Videos