Alcohol plays major factor in wrong-way crashes, studies show

Hillsborough County

HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla (WFLA) – The scenarios aren’t unfamiliar around the Tampa Bay area. Two drivers, counties apart, driving in the wrong direction along busy Tampa Bay area roads.

A 39-year-old Lutz woman died early Saturday morning after police say she drove the wrong way on Interstate 275 and crashed head-on into another car.

That same morning, a 19-year-old Safety Harbor man caused a wrong-way crash in Clearwater, according to the police department.

The difference? Police say Conner Hall admitted to drinking three-fourths of a bottle of liquor before causing the crash along the Courtney Campbell Causeway.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board, 69 percent of fatal wrong-way collisions involve alcohol.

The Florida Department of Safety and Motor Vehicles released a study in 2015 on wrong-way crashes between Feb. 2012 and Jan. 2015. The study came after 12 people were killed within a span of only seven months.

Alcohol factors into wrong-way collisions

Take a look at the role alcohol plays in wrong-way crashes.

Source: NTSB

The study found that Hillsborough County had the fourth-highest number of wrong-way crashes in the state. Pinellas County had the sixth most wrong-way crashes.

Florida had a total of 1,490 wrong-way crashes and 96 fatalities in 2015.

Tampa Bay had at least eight deaths resulting from wrong-way crashes in 2016, and two more in 2017.

While Florida Highway Patrol reports that wrong-way crashes are relatively rare, Tampa Bay leads the state in DUI arrests.

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