Preventing and managing ghost-driver incidents

The French experience
Vicedo, P.

A ghost driver, by definition, is a motorist who travels in a lane against the flow of traffic. This includes drivers who back up in an attempt to get to an exit they’ve missed, even if doing so endangers their own safety and that of others.
Incidents involving ghost drivers are of special concern on France’s motorway network, where from 1999 to 2003 they represented 0.2 percent of all accidents involving injuries and 4.4 percent of those involving fatalities (see chart below), according to the Association Professionelle Autoroutes et Ouvrages à Péage (ASFA), a lobbying and highway information organization.
The scope of the phenomenon goes beyond accident rates, however, as the vast majority of ghost drivers don’t cause accidents. Yet, little information is available on ghost driver incidents that are “resolved” by themselves. Data collected by motorway operators show that, on average, a ghost driver incident is observed every 1 to 15 days on France’s network. About 25 percent of these incidents are confirmed by on-site operating staff, and only 1 percent to 3 percent result in an accident.



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