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Pa. Leads Nation In Wrong Way Traffic Fatalities

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Sarah-Arbogast-Web Sarah Arbogast
Sarah Arbogast joined the KDKA team as a Traffic Reporter in November...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — Drivers and passengers are killed in car crashes every day. But here in Pennsylvania, one particular type of accident is proving to be especially deadly.

On Dec. 12, 2012, 27-year-old Tiffany Alcorn was killed in a crash driving the wrong way on Route 30 in Westmoreland County.

Less than two weeks later, an accident on the Parkway East near Wilkinsburg was also caused by a wrong way driver.

Wrong way crashes happen more than you may realize, especially here in Pennsylvania.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, we lead the nation in the number of wrong way traffic fatalities.

Between 2007 and 2011, 1,302 people were killed in Pennsylvania in crashes involving a vehicle traveling the wrong way.

Texas, a much bigger state, is second with 1,153. Florida is a distant third with 386 followed by California with 360) and South Carolina with 300.

A lot of different factors may lead to a driver ignoring signs and traveling the wrong way.

Driving under the influence is the most common. According to the report, 60 percent of wrong way driving crashes involve alcohol.

The age of our population also probably contributes: drivers over the age of 70 accounts for about 15 percent of the crashes.

The most dangerous time to encounter a wrong-way driver is between 6 p.m. and 6 a.m. Seventy-eight percent of the fatal wrong-way collisions occur then and 57 percent happen on the weekends.

So, what do you do if you find yourself faced with a wrong way driver? First, try not to panic.

“What you need to do is get over to the side of the road, either side as fast as possible, and come to a complete stop, and just keep your eyes on that vehicle,” said Trooper Robin Mungo, of Pennsylvania State Police. “You know, I tell people all the time, if you are traveling down the Parkway and you see headlights right in front of you, you need to take action right away.”

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