A Verizon truck going southbound on the northbound 101 freeway caused a six-car crash and one death yesterday in Santa Barbara, according to the Santa Barbara Independent.
At approximately 6 a.m., the Verizon truck entered the 101 heading the wrong direction near near Glen Annie Road in Goleta. Ten minutes after entering the freeway, the truck struck a white van, killing the driver. Six other vehicles were involved in the crash, leaving two people moderately injured and three others with minor injuries.
According the U.S. Department of Transportation, an average of 350 people are killed annually due to wrong-way freeway crashes. The Transportation Department’s website lists California as one of the few states taking initiative to combat this serious problem with ramp design, signage, and other safety improvements.
A 1989 California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) study found that drivers under the influence of drugs and/or alcohol were responsible for 76.8% of fatal wrong way car crashes. In a crash such as this, one of the first questions to ask is whether drugs or alcohol impaired the wrong-way driver. Officials who are still investigating the accident have not said publically whether alcohol or drugs were a factor.
The crash victims and their families deserve answers. With knowledgeable and experienced personal injury attorneys, those injured in the crash can be compensated for medical expenses and lost earnings from work. The family of the deceased victim may be able to file a wrongful death claim as well.