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Two people were reportedly killed and several others injured, including a 2-year-old child, in a suspected DUI car crash on the northbound 110 Freeway in downtown Los Angeles. According to Sgt. Jeff Lane of the California Highway Patrol, the three-vehicle collision took place shortly before 2 a.m., just south of Ninth Street, when a Lexus SUV that was traveling southbound in a northbound lane slammed head-on into a Toyota Corolla.
The CHP reportedly shut down several lanes as officers and firefighter-paramedics responded to the scene. The deceased were identified only as a man and a woman, both 30 years old, who were in the Toyota sedan. Among the injured were another man and woman, who were hospitalized along with the injured toddler. The conditions of those three individuals were not immediately known. The driver of the SUV was among the survivors, the Highway Patrol said.
This incident comes at the heels of a recent study that found that the pandemic has given way to an increase in deaths as a result of motorists driving on the wrong way of the street. The study reportedly found that deaths involving wrong-way drivers increased from an average of 360 a year from 2004 to 2009 to 430 a year from 2010 to 2019, including an average of 500 from 2015 to 2018. Researchers found that driving under the influence, older age, and traveling alone increased the odds of driving the wrong way and being involved in a fatal accident.
The study also found that 60.1% of drivers going the wrong way in fatal crashes had blood-alcohol levels higher than 0.08% — driving with this BAC is illegal in California. A total of 36% had less than 0.01% of alcohol in their systems, and the rest were in between. “Alcohol impairment is, by far, the single most significant factor in the majority of wrong-way driving crashes, which unfortunately has not changed since the NTSB issued its Wrong-Way Driving special investigation report in 2012,” Rob Molloy, NTSB’s director of the Office of Highway Safety, reportedly said in a news release.
In light of these latest research findings, AAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) are urging state transportation agencies to adopt driver-based countermeasures that address these factors, such as alcohol ignition interlocks, strengthened deterrence strategies like sobriety checkpoints, driver refresher courses for older adults and the installation of more-visible signs and signals.
Despite the pandemic and the decrease in traffic across the country, there was a 45% increase in pedestrian fatalities over a 10-year period in the U.S.