Connecticut Goes High Tech to Stop Wrong-Way Drivers
With a rash of wrong-way crashes happening throughout the state, the Connecticut DOT is now testing some high tech options to try to deter and stop wrong-way crashes.
It's been an issue for the last few years, and the Connecticut Department of Transportation had actually hoped to have the technology in place a few years ago, however the problem the department has been running into has been more challenging than expected.
Erika Lindenberg, who is in charge of DOT's division of traffic engineering, explained to nbcconnecticut.com why it's so hard to pinpoint hot spots when it comes to one way crashes:
There's not the specific hotspots. There aren't data where it's happening, so it's kind of happening in different locations and different areas.
Over the last few years, the DOT has been going through crash data, statistics and 911 calls, and have only been able to pinpoint one area where there have been an above average number of wrong way crashes. That area is the exit 8 off ramp from I-84 West in Danbury. That's also the area where they will be testing the first high tech 'Wrong Way' signs. Look for then to appear by this fall.
The technology, which the DOT is investigating, is being used now in Rhode Island.
Here's how it works:
A series of sensors is put in place that detect when a vehicle is going the wrong way up an off-ramp. When that happens, red flashing lights are activated. If that doesn't get the driver's attention and get the vehicle to turn around, a second sensor is triggered. When the system is activated a video feed is sent to the DOT Traffic Management Center. If the driver continues to travel in the wrong-direction, another radar triggers an audio alert inside the control center and state police are notified.
That, coupled with special traffic cameras at various intersections across the state, which can also detect wrong-way vehicles, should start to hopefully reduce the number of wrong way crashes.
Here's what Lindenberg from the DOT said to nbcconnecticut.com about putting this equipment into operation:
We want to try to get these out as soon as we can. It takes some time to get the infrastructure in place, get all of the technology in place and get this to all come together.
There is one area of concern that the Connecticut DOT and certain politicians are looking at, since 2017 there have been 177 wrong way crashes resulting in some 15 deaths on Connecticut highways, and the DOT is hoping to cut that number down significantly with this new wrong way technology.