On Saturday morning, a fatal wrong-way collision occurred on Capital of Texas Highway, also known as Loop 360, near the 2500 block. A witness to the incident, which occurred at about 6:24 a.m., said a driver traveling northbound suddenly turned and headed in the opposite direction on northbound lanes. A motorist in the southbound lane saw the dangerous situation and tried to warn oncoming traffic and to alert the driver, according to Lt. Brian Gruetzner. Police also received a call about the wrong-way driver. The warning attempts were unsuccessful. The wrong-way vehicle crashed head-on with a northbound vehicle. The driver of the wrong-way sedan died at the scene. The motorist in the other vehicle was quickly transported to St. David’s South Austin Medical Center, having suffered life-threatening injuries.
The Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) is proactively working to find solutions to wrong-way driving. Texas is among the states with the most wrong-way crashes. In Austin, head-on crashes are sporadic, TxDOT said. There are two current projects aimed at decreasing fatal collisions on Texas roads. The projects are in San Antonio and in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.
Sensors to detect wrong-way drivers have been installed in San Antonio. If the sensor becomes activated, triggers cause wrong-way signs to begin flashing over the highway. TxDOT chose San Antonio for the research because there were 185 cases of reported wrong-way drivers in the city in 2011. Seven fatalities resulted from some of those incidents. Research has found that 80% of wrong-way crashes occur between 10 pm and 6 am in San Antonio.
Numerous potential solutions are being tested by TxDOT. The work is considered a priority because wrong-way crashes tend to be worse accidents than other types of collisions.