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Two More Wrong Way Drivers in Tampa - Jones Law Group

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Two More Wrong Way Drivers in Tampa

Is Tampa Facing a Wrong Way Driving Epidemic?

It sure feels that there is a wrong way driving epidemic in the Tampa Bay area. This weekend, there were two more wrong way driving incidents in Tampa.[1] At least one of the two incidents involved a driver who is suspected of being impaired and is, in fact, a habitual traffic offender. The other driver was cited for careless driving, but has not been charged for driving while impaired. The weekend’s incidents did not involve any cars other than the two wrong way drivers and only one of the two vehicles was involved in an accident. Thankfully, there were no major injuries suffered.

Unfortunately, it seems that this past weekend’s stories were not the norm as usually it seems that stories involving a wrong way driver seem to always end in tragedy. On Christmas, Paul Pulkownik was traveling in the wrong direction on Park Boulevard in Seminole and caused a head on collision with the Martins family killing all three occupants of the vehicle.[2] This devastating accident marked the 16th fatality caused by a wrong way driver in the Tampa Bay area in 2014.

What Causes the Wrong Way Driving?

Nationwide, it is estimated that nearly 75% of all wrong way driving incidents are due to the impairment of the wrong way driver. The wrong way driving epidemic in the Tampa Bay Area is getting national attention and has the Florida Department of Transportation scrambling to determine whether there is a solution that can be implemented through better road engineering or increased signage. FDOT has considered spikes on the off ramps that will puncture the tires of vehicles attempting to enter the interstate from an off ramp, larger signs, lowering the height of signs, LED signs that warn drivers proceeding in the wrong direction and a warning system that will notify police when an driver is driving in the wrong direction. Almost all of these solutions will cost significant sums of money to implement and may not effectively address the problem.

In my opinion, the solutions proposed by FDOT, save the spikes will not address the issue of intoxicated wrong way driving and may not address the issues that caused the other 25% of wrong way drivers who were not impaired but still proceeded in the wrong direction. Instead of jumping to conclusions that larger signs or lower signs placed on off ramps to warn wrong way drivers that they are already proceeding in the wrong direction will solve the problem, perhaps intersections and areas with a high incidence of wrong way driving should be studied. The solution may lie in better marking of such intersections before drivers have entered in the wrong direction.

The Injuries Associated with Wrong Way Driving

Wrong way driving accidents are typically catastrophic. The reason is simple physics. Wrong way driving accidents almost always involve a head on collision. Two cars colliding head on at 50 MPH do so with an incredible amount of energy and destructive force. The vehicles are stopped so abruptly that the force of the crash is the same as if one car drove into a solid wall at 50MPH. The vehicle may stop abruptly, but the occupants of the car continue moving until stopped by their restraints or another object capable of stopping their momentum. Even properly restrained occupants are likely to suffer severe head, neck and back trauma which often results in death.

Avoiding Wrong Way Drivers

Unfortunately, it is nearly impossible to avoid wrong way drivers. There have been nationwide studies which indicated that wrong drivers typically use the left hand lanes and that most wrong way driving accidents occur in the early morning hours shortly after midnight. Driving in the right hand lanes during these times may reduce the likelihood of a collision with a driver approaching from the wrong direction. Other tips which may save your life include:

1. Usually, drivers only scan the road about 100 yards in front of their vehicle. Get used to looking farther down the road to identify danger;
2. Always be aware of your surroundings, as many wrong way driving accidents involve collisions between cars other than the wrong way driver;
3. Buckle up;
4. Use your signals when taking evasive action, as this will give the wrong way driver every opportunity to avoid your car;
5. Call the police after you have successfully avoided the wrong way driver; and
6. Make sure that you are not the wrong way driver. Carefully watch traffic signs and remember the reflectors on roadways reflect white if you are travelling in the correct direction and red if you are travelling in the wrong direction.

Contact Jones Law Group

Have you or a loved one been injured in an accident? Contact an experienced St. Petersburg personal injury attorney at Jones Law Group today. When you contact our office we will immediately set an appointment where you will meet your attorney and be provided with his/her personal contact information. If you do not have transportation or you cannot drive, your attorney will travel to meet you and discuss your case with you in the privacy of your own home.

Whether you were a pedestrian, a bicyclist, or the occupant of car, motorcycle or boat and have been injured in an accident, you should immediately call an experienced personal injury attorney in St. Petersburg at Jones Law Group at (727) 571-1333 during regular business hours or (727) 753-8657 on weekends or after regular business hours. We will evaluate your case for free and you will never pay us a dime unless we recover compensation for your injuries.

Jones Law Group
5622 Central Avenue
St. Pete, FL 33707


[1] http://www.baynews9.com/content/news/baynews9/news/article.html/content/news/articles/bn9/2015/2/22/two_more_wrong_way_d.html

[2] http://www.tampabay.com/news/publicsafety/accidents/seminole-wrong-way-crash-claims-third-victim/2211646

Heath Murphy

About the Author

Heath Murphy is a partner at Jones Law Group and focuses on personal injury law. He has been working as a lawyer for 18 years and routinely writes about auto accidents, wrongful death, and personal injury laws.

Read more: Heath’s Bio