On April 10th, 2018, one of our officers (and countless motorists) were subjected to the poor actions of an alleged intoxicated driver.
At approximately 1:00am, Southlake Police received 911 calls of a vehicle traveling westbound in the eastbound lanes of Highway 114 around White Chapel and Dove. As you can see from the video (linked), as our officer attempted to locate the vehicle, it speeds within a lane of him going the wrong direction.
We’ve seen an increase in intoxicated wrong way drivers over the last year of 110%. In 2016 we had 20 reported wrong way drivers and that number increased to 42 in 2017. A traffic study completed over the course of the last three years show the three main thoroughfares with the most wrong way drivers were Highway 114, the Highway 114 service roads, and Southlake Boulevard.
As we conduct further studies with TXDOT and other cities about how and where these drivers are getting on the freeway, there’s a few things you can do to keep safe as well.
Most of the time, the drunk driver thinks they are in the far right, slow lane. That means that anytime you drive after dark, try to avoid the far left fast lane. That lessens the chance for a head on collision at high speeds. Secondly, if you see a wrong way driver, call 911 immediately and make sure you note your location. That’s the best way to get us to you. Lastly, limit distractions like texting or making phone calls. Pay attention to the road in front of you so you can have a chance to react if a vehicle is barreling towards you.
Last night, our officers were able to locate the driver before she could hurt anyone. She was arrested in our city limits, back on the freeway, under suspicion of DWI.
NBC 5, Fox 4, and CBS 11 came to Headquarters to interview Chief Brandon about the increase and possible solutions.