On June 22, a stretch of the Antelope Valley Freeway in Los Angeles was the scene of a wrong-way that killed one motorist and seriously injured two others. The accident happened on the northbound side of the freeway past Escondido Canyon Road, where a similar accident had left 13 people injured just four days earlier. Both crashes caused the highway to be closed for several hours by emergency services.

Both accidents appear to have been caused by an impaired driver entering the freeway using an exit ramp and driving into oncoming traffic. The driver in the first accident is accused of driving under the influence of methamphetamines when he struck eight cars. Three of the accident victims sustained critical injuries. In the second accident, the police arrested the driver on suspicion of drunk driving. The driver of a car that was hit head on died at the scene. His front-seat passenger suffered critical injuries, and a rear-seat passenger sustained major injuries.

A study conducted by the National Highway Transportation Board, or NHTSA, conducted in 2012 concluded that wrong-way crashes involve alcohol 60 percent of the time. They also observed that this type of accident is more likely to result in fatalities than any other type of highway collision. The NHTSA also noted that 80 percent of these incidents happen between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. The study looked into nine wrong-way incidents on interstates, highways and expressways.

Victims of this type of car accident often suffer serious injuries that require long term medical treatment. Holding an impaired driver responsible for his or her actions is the first step, but other factors may need to be examined to determine liability. A lawyer may ask questions about the warning signs posted when two accidents happen on the same stretch of freeway within days of each other.

Source: NBC Southern California, “,” Jason Kandel and Reggie Kumar, June 22, 2013

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