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Michigan Wrong-Way Crashes

November 5, 2021

Unfortunately, wrong-way crashes are common in Michigan. There are about 350 accidents every year in the U.S., and in Michigan, 56 wrong-way crashes were reported from 2010-2018. There were 86 deaths resulting from those crashes. That’s an average of roughly 10 deaths from wrong-way crashes per year in our state. That’s way too many!

Recent Wrong-Way Crashes in Grand Rapids

The rate of wrong-way crashes investigated in the Grand Rapids area has fluctuated between 2010 and 2019. Twenty-six people were involved in wrong-way crashes in 2010, and 64 in 2016. The most recent data from the Michigan Office of Highway Safety Planning shows that there were 33 wrong-way crashes in 2019.

In fact, a woman was recently killed when her vehicle was struck head-on by a wrong-way driver on US-131 in Grand Rapids in May. Michigan State Police said a Toyota 4Runner, driven by a 21-year-old man from Rockford, was driving north in the southbound lanes when it struck the 59-year-old woman’s Buick Encore head-on. She was pronounced dead at the scene. State police said alcohol is believed to be a factor.

Like this recent case, wrong-way crashes frequently result in fatalities.

“Wrong-way crashes on divided highways are often fatal as they are typically head-on collisions,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “And unfortunately, as the data shows, fatalities from these crashes are on the rise.”

What Causes Wrong-Way Crashes?

Wrong-way accidents occur for a number of reasons, all of which are due to the careless and reckless operation of a vehicle. The most common reasons include:

  • Operating a motor vehicle while intoxicated and under the influence of alcohol;
  • Operating an auto while under the influence of drugs;
  • Older drivers;
  • Driving without a passenger;
  • Distracted driving, such as texting and cell phone use;
  • Failing to pay attention to the road signs;
  • A lack of familiarity with the road or highway entrance ramps.

Far and away, the single most significant factor in the majority of wrong-way driving crashes is alcohol impairment. This hasn’t changed since the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued its Wrong-Way Driving special investigation report in 2012. AAA’s research shows that six in 10 wrong-way crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Those with blood alcohol concentrations above the legal limit of 0.08 g/dl were found to be significantly more likely to be wrong-way drivers than non-alcohol-impaired drivers involved in the same crashes.

Many motorists are injured in these accidents, as well as motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians.

Contact us

If you or a family member has been seriously injured in a wrong-way auto accident in Michigan, contact Buchanan Firm. We will help you pursue compensation against those who are responsible.

For a free consultation with an experienced car accident attorney in Grand Rapids or the surrounding area, contact Buchanan Firm. Our firm proudly serves people all across Michigan, including major cities like Grand Rapids, Muskegon, Detroit, Lansing, Holland, St. Joe, and Ann Arbor, and rural towns such as Lowell, Ada, Fremont, Newaygo, Grand Haven, Rockford, and Cedar Springs. We will meet you after-hours, at home or in the hospital, to accommodate you.

Contact us today!