An accident that killed a Dearborn Heights man and Divine Child graduate this month is just one local example of what a new national study concluded about wrong-way crashes.
On average, 360 people die each year in wrong-way collisions, researchers with the National Transportation Safety Board found. And the majority of those crashes, and nearly 70 percent of all wrong-way crashes involve alcohol.
The study analyzed data from more than 1,500 crashes between 2004 and 2009.
David Arcand, 27, was killed in a wrong-way accident on I-96 on Dec. 6. The Dearborn Heights resident and Divine Child High School graduate was hit by a car going the wrong way, driven by a Detroit man who survived.
Alcohol was believed to be a factor in the crash, according to the Michigan State Police.
Similarly, seven of the nine accidents investigated by the NTSB involved wrong-way driving on the freeway.
In 59 percent of the accidents, wrong-way drivers had blood alcohol levels more than twice the legal limit, researchers said. In another 10 percent of the crashes, drivers had alcohol levels between .08 and .14. The limit in most instances is .08.
To address the problem, the NTSB is considering recommending that all states require convicted first-time drunken-driving offenders use ignition interlock devices that test their breath for alcohol concentration in order to drive, the Detroit News reported. The dashboard devices won't let the engine start if the driver has consumed alcohol.
Seventeen states already require the devices after a first drunk driving offense. Michigan does not require the device, but its requirement by the Secretary of State is common after a second offense DUI.