Wrong-Way Drivers Posing Danger In NY, Pennsylvania
Transportation officials in New York and Pennsylvania are concerned following a recent series of deadly wrong-way highway crashes.
A Binghamton man died and two other people were killed when the pickup truck he was driving slammed into a van on Interstate 81 in Susquehanna County in a late-night crash on May 7.
An Otsego County man was killed when the pickup truck collided with a New York State Police sport utility vehicle on Route 17 in the Town of Kirkwood on April 1.
In both cases, the truck drivers were traveling in the wrong direction.
Representatives of transportation agencies in New York and Pennsylvania note "Wrong Way" signs are posted at highway interchanges to warn drivers not to use the wrong ramp. Arrows painted on the pavement also are designed to alert motorists of the correct direction of travel.
David Hamburg of the New York State Department of Transportation said wrong-way incidents can be attributed to various things, including fatigue, alcohol or drug use, or a driver's medical condition.
Hamburg said if a motorist suddenly becomes aware he's traveling in the wrong direction, he should immediately pull over to the shoulder and call 911 for help. He said a motorist should not attempt to turn around without assistance. A police officer can provide help to prevent a crash as the driver is able to safely get turned around.
Hamburg said if you observe a wrong-way vehicle coming toward you, pull over to the shoulder immediately and call 911 to report the situation.
James May of the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation said the problem of wrong-way drivers does seem to be growing. He said his agency conducts a review after incidents to assess whether appropriate signs and markings are in place.
May said the transportation department is working with law enforcement officials to develop strategies that may be able to reduce the number of deadly wrong-way crashes.
Although some people have suggested the installation of spike devices that might stop prevent a vehicle from heading in the wrong direction on a ramp, May said they could cause another set of problems. He said emergency vehicles still need to have highway access. The devices also could cause tire damage to vehicles traveling in the correct direction.
Hamburg of the New York DOT reminds drivers that it's against the law to use median crossovers on highways. He said it is dangerous for motorists to merge into high-speed traffic from a crossover. They are designed for use only by authorized law enforcement, emergency services or maintenance vehicles equipped with emergency lights.
A pickup truck traveling in the wrong direction on Route 17 collided with a New York State Police patrol vehicle in the Town of Kirkwood on April 1, 2016. [Bob Joseph/WNBF News][/caption]For breaking news and updates on developing stories, follow @BinghamtonNow on Twitter.