CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – It’s been a week since that deadly wrong way crash in Connecticut which took the life of Connecticut State Representative Quintin Williams. On Thursday Mass State Police reporting another wrong way crash, this time on the Mass Pike in Blandford. So far no reports of this accident being deadly, but wrong way crashes have become a growing problem in our area.
A 39-year-old woman from New York was taken into custody on charges of driving under the influence after her car crashed into a truck while she was driving eastbound on the westbound side of the Mass Pike in Blandford late Wednesday afternoon.
“You never know what’s going to happen. Things can happen so quickly when you are driving. You have to be alert because you don’t know what the other guy is doing or thinking, or what state of mind they are in,” expressed West Springfield resident Maria Schwartz.
The driver was sent to the hospital along with two juvenile passengers, one of them with serious injuries. This incident adding to an alarming number of wrong-way crashes happening across the country and right here in New England.
According to AAA, alcohol consumption, older age, and driving without a passenger increases the risk of wrong way crashes. AAA data indicated that six in ten wrong-way crashes involved an alcohol-impaired driver. Also that drivers over the age of 70 are more at risk of wrong-way driving than younger drivers. Nearly 87% of wrong-way drivers did not have a passenger with them.
“I couldn’t believe what I was seeing,” said Schwartz, who once saw a wrong-way driver on the Mass Pike coming towards her and her husband. She was thankful to be with him when it occurred. “Absolutely panicked, luckily I am observant and noticed it and told my husband, ‘hey, I think they are in the wrong lane!’ and we moved over. You just have to keep an eye on the people around you because you never know.”
AAA says that top safety improvements that can these prevent crashes include an alcohol ignition interlock device to stop drunk driving as well as states installing more-visible traffic signs and signals.
From 2014 to 2018 there was a 34% increase of wrong-way crash deaths nationwide.