AUSTIN (KXAN) — The Texas Department of Transportation is working to identify and stop the cause of escalating wrong-way crashes. Nation-wide Texas is moving up on the list of top states for wrong way crashes.
TxDOT said head-on crashes tend to be sporadic in Austin. Right now they are conducting two research projects with the hopes to decrease the number of deaths on Texas roadways.
One project is in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, and the other is in San Antonio. In San Antonio TxDOT installed sensors to detect drivers going the wrong way. When the sensor is activated it triggers flashing wrong way signs over the highway.
TxDOT research found that during 2011 there were a total of 185 reported cases of a wrong-way drivers in San Antonio. During that year there were seven fatalities caused by a wrong-way driver. The research also found that 80-percent of wrong-way crashes in San Antonio occur between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m.
72-percent of wrong-way driver incidents happen after sunset.
The number of wrong-way driver reports spike after 2 a.m.; nearly doubling when the bars close. The Highway Special Investigation Report found that between 2004 and 2009, 59-percent of wrong-way drivers in fatal crashes BAC was equal to or above 0.15.
One proposed solution is adding spike strips to freeway exit ramps. However, the spikes are meant to stop drivers traveling at speeds of five miles per hour, presenting a danger for those traveling at high speeds. Therefore, the proposal states that if the spikes were added, speeds along the exits would have to be reduced.
Additional solutions include adding reflective tape on the wrong-way signs, as well as increasing their size. Due to the fact that 72-percent of wrong-way driver incidents happen after sunset, TxDOT is also proposing adding flashing LED lights to signs to make them visible from miles away.