Working to keep drivers in the right lane

SANTA FE, N.M. — The deaths of two Santa Feans in a fiery wrong-way accident on Interstate 25 in September – caused by a driver who was extremely intoxicated – raised new concerns about safety and possible design flaws on the stretch of interstate that runs between the Eldorado exit east of town through the city limits.
But state public safety and transportation officials continue to say there are no design problems – despite the frequency of DWI crashes on the interstate around Santa Fe – and that the only way to really fight wrong-way driving is to curb drinking and driving.

“Really, it’s mostly people who are impaired drivers who are doing this and the story isn’t necessarily that there’s an engineering solution,” Loren Hatch, deputy secretary of the New Mexico Department of Transportation, said in a recent interview.

Still, at least a few states are trying some new ideas, using electronic signs and alerts to help prevent wrong-way crashes.

“It has to be a decisional solution for everybody who is going out and drinking and having a good time,” said Hatch. “We see people who make a decision to go out drinking, they decide that they’re going to drive, they end up going the wrong way and tragedy results from it.”

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