Letters to the Editor

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FREEWAYS: How to stop deadly wrong-way crashes

Letter by Shawn Brown, Tacoma on Feb. 12, 2014 at 9:29 am with No Comments »
February 12, 2014 9:39 am

As state and local governments scratch their heads and try to come up with a way to prevent wrong-way freeway crashes, I came up with my own unique idea. I actually thought about this back in October 1991 when a co-worker was killed by a wrong-way drunk driver with no headlights.

My idea: retractable spike strips. Those spring-loaded spike strips were used at drive-in movies to prevent cars from driving in through the exits. Each time a car tried to drive in going the wrong direction, severe tire damage would result, stopping the car immediately.

Those same spike strips could easily prevent wrong-way freeway crashes. They need only be installed at the end of freeway off-ramps. Motorists exiting the freeway would never be affected by them, but if drunk or confused drivers turned onto the off-ramp heading in the wrong direction, they would have four flat tires before they even hit the lanes of travel.

Drunk or sober, they wouldn’t get far.

Noisy? Maybe, but not nearly as noisy as the sound of a 3-ton SUV slamming head-on into a minivan full of children at 60 mph. Expensive? Far less expensive than the loss of even one innocent life.

My suggestion would be to begin installing them on parts of I-5 or other local freeways with the highest number of wrong-way crashes or maybe at exits with taverns nearby.

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