Alcohol Involved in Some 2022 Deadly Wrong-Way Crashes

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After two people were hurt in a fiery wrong-way crash on Interstate 95 North on Thursday in New Haven, some think more needs to be done about a concerning issue in the state.

“Too many wrong-way crashes,” said Danny Scarpellino of New Haven. “It needs to stop. People are getting hurt.”

And worse, people are losing their lives.

According to state data, there were seven deadly wrong-way crashes in 2020, eight in 2021, and so far this year, it’s jumped to 11.

Of the 11, test results from five have come back and there is a trend when it comes to blood alcohol content, known as BAC.

“Of those five crashes that we have the toxicology reports for, four of those five drivers had a BAC level that was above .2. So they were already twice the legal limit for driving,” said Eric Jackson, executive director of the Connecticut Transportation Institute.

Connecticut has been working on installing warning systems and other road improvements to prevent wrong-way drivers.

But things, like flashing beacons, only go so far.

“We do suspect that for drivers who are severely impaired those signs are not going to have a dramatic impact. But they may have a dramatic impact on people that get on the wrong way being confused which roadway they’re getting on,” said Jackson.

Something that also stuck out to researchers is in a couple of cases the drivers tested positive for THC, the psychoactive part of cannabis.

While that isn’t necessarily unusual, they’ll be closely reviewing the next batch of toxicology reports.

“We’re hoping to be able to see is THC prevalent in those samples as well. It’s something we’re tracking. We’re trying to figure out, is THC or is cannabis leading to more of these wrong-way driver crashes,” said Jackson.

Sometimes the idea of installing spike strips is brought up. Experts say those are not approved for highway speeds.

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