Police say they’re perplexed by an unusual increase in wrong-way driver calls, many (most?) of which involve intoxicated motorists.
In the past year, Southlake has seen a 110 percent increase in such calls — from 20 to 42, police say.
Police Chief James Brandon said that he can’t point to any one reason for the increase but that he worked with 911 dispatchers to make such calls priority one, meaning police respond immediately with lights and sirens.
“We are dealing with a life-threatening situation. Two cars going 75 miles per hour crash head-on,” he said of the risk.
Police can’t catch every wrong-way driver, but those who stopped are often arrested on suspicion of driving while under the influence.
Brandon said he is working with the Texas Department of Transportation on ways to curb the problem, such as putting in more signage
“We want to see what we can do to keep people safe and from getting hurt,” he said.
A traffic study shows that the thoroughfares with the most wrong-way drivers are Texas 114 and its service roads and Southlake Boulevard. Most intoxicated drivers think they are driving in the far right or “slow” lane.
Those who witness wrong-way drivers are asked to call 911 and give their location.