Austin is at the center of Texas' struggle with wrong-way crashes

TxDOT is taking steps, like installing new road signs, to reduce the high number of wrong-way crashes in Texas.

Wrong-way accidents kill dozens of people and injure hundreds more across Texas each year. The state outranks all others for wrong-way accidents, the vast majority of which are caused by drunk drivers, according to KEYE TV. Downtown Austin, with its high number of one-way streets, in particular has one of the highest rates of wrong-way accidents in Texas. The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is taking steps to address the situation by adding improved signage and warning devices specifically designed to get the attention of drunk drivers.

Wrong-way crashes in Texas

Wrong-way accidents occur all over Texas, but Austin certainly stands out for having a disproportionately high number of these accident types. While there is no singular "hot spot" for accidents in Austin, the downtown area's network of one-way streets is likely a factor in explaining why the city suffers from a high number of wrong-way crashes.

Across the state, wrong-way crashes are also a major problem. As NBC 5 reports, in the first 11 months of 2015 wrong-way accidents in Texas killed 61 people and injured 696 more. Furthermore, in the past five years 335 people have died and over 3,500 people have been killed in wrong-way accidents in the state, higher than any other state.

Drunken drivers

The vast majority of wrong-way crashes, especially those that happen on highways, are caused by drunk drivers. Those same highway accidents, since they are often occurring at high speeds, are also much more likely to lead to serious injury or death.

Because the issue has become so serious here, TxDOT has begun taking steps to address the problem. Many of the solutions are, in fact, surprisingly simple. A North Texas Tollway Authority study, for example, found that just lowering road signs can help cut wrong-way accidents by 60 percent. TxDOT will be adding lower signs to a number of on-ramps and off-ramps, as well as adding flashing signs and red pavement reflectors that are more likely to be seen by intoxicated drivers.

Personal injury

Serious motor vehicle accidents, such as wrong-way crashes, are more likely to leave victims coping with severe injuries. Such injuries may take months or years to recover from and they may entail significant financial hardship, especially if the victim is unable to return to work.

A personal injury attorney can assist anybody who has been hurt in a car accident. Particularly in cases where the accident may have been caused by a drunk or otherwise negligent driver, accident victims may be able to pursue additional compensation that could ultimately help them during their recovery period.