Cracking Down on Wrong Way Driving on Highways

March 14, 2013 Updated Mar 14, 2013 at 7:52 AM EDT

By WKBW

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March 14, 2013 Updated Mar 14, 2013 at 7:52 AM EDT

Buffalo, N.Y. (WKBW) - It is a scene we have all seen here in Western New York too many times. Deadly crashes caused by drivers going the wrong way on the highway. Now, a new bill just passed through Congress that will create tougher penalties for drivers caught going the wrong direction.

"They're so violent and very often head-on," one officer said.

A crash in July left three dead on the I-190 in Grand Island. Police said the driver was Richard Hildenbrand, 87, who was going the wrong way on the highway for nearly eight miles before the accident. Tragic cases like this prompted state lawmakers to take action. If the bill passes, drivers caught going the wrong way will face felony charges.

The bill will include reckless driving, too, which we have also seen in Western New York. Nationwide, hundreds of people die each year from wrong way and reckless driving. Most of these accidents are head-on with high speeds. Twenty-two percent of wrong way accidents are fatal and 60 percent are due to drinking and driving.