Amarillo, TX (KFDA) - Texas leads the nation in wrong way crashes, according to TxDOT.
The Texas Department of Transportation sees hundreds of wrong-way accidents every year, many here in the Panhandle.
And while they have some answers as to why, they are taking what they call a terrible statistic into their own hands.
Wrong way collisions have been an increasing problem in Texas, according to Texas Department of Transportation, so much that Texas has earned the title of the U.S.' leader of these accidents.
"It's certainly not an area that we would like to...an honor that we would not like to earn, but safety is our top priority and we've done what we can up to this point," TxDOT Spokesperson Mark Cross said. "We've tried to make a few enhancements to reduce wrong-way driving, but obviously we still have more work to do."
And they're doing it. TxDOT is now conducting two research projects in hopes of decreasing deaths on Texas roads.
"One thing that we've done around a few more that 50 locations around the state is install flashing LED signs that are activated by a radar device if a wrong way driver is detected, so that's probably the heaviest measure that we've taken up to this point to address the issue," Cross said.
Additional solutions include increasing the size and adding reflective tape on wrong way signs, considering 72% of the incidents happen after sunset. Another proposed idea is adding one-way spike strips to freeway exit ramps.
TxDOT says the majority of these crashes involve people under the influence, adding another factor to consider.
"Drivers need to go out with a plan and make sure either they're going to remain sober, or that they're going to have a designated driver so that they will not get behind the wheel after they've consumed alcohol because the risks just go up from there," Cross said.
TxDOT says these wrong-way collisions all too often result in fatalities, another reason they are hoping the projects work in their favor.
Should these studies prove to be successful, TxDOT will consider permanent implementation across the state.