Wrong way crashes on decline across state despite deadly Thanksgiving crash

Florida Highway Patrol

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – A deadly crash on Thanksgiving Day that claimed the lives of three people is not the first time the Tampa Bay area has suffered the loss of multiple lives as the result of a wrong way crash.

In February 2014, four USF students were killed on I-275 in a wrong way crash.

The Florida Highway Patrol reported 625 wrong way accidents in 2013. The number of wrong way crashes increased to 690 across Florida in 2014 and increased again to 774 in 2015.

Sergeant Steve Gaskins maintains that wrong way crashes are rare when compared to the overall number of crashes across the state.

“A lot of these crashes are due to drugs and alcohol or a combination of the two,” said Gaskins.

The accidents can often be deadly because they involve head-on crashes at high rates of speed on interstates.

Gaskins says the overall number of wrong way crashes is now on the decline because of a concentrated effort across the state.

“Enforcement, engineering and education,” said Gaskins.

DUI patrols are up, the Florida Department of Transportation is working to improve signage and markings on the road to better inform drivers and education campaigns have focused on preventing wrong way drivers.

The Florida Highway Patrol says most wrong way accidents happen between 9 p.m. and 2 a.m., a time when drivers need to pay close attention to the conditions in front of them.

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