On freeway ramps, wrong-way vehicles will trigger alerts, including illuminated signs with flashing lights, aimed at getting drivers to stop. The system will immediately warn other drivers through overhead message boards as well as law enforcement. Cameras in the area will automatically turn to face the wrong-way vehicle so traffic operators can better track it. On the freeway, thermal cameras placed at one-mile intervals will signal when a wrong-way vehicle passes so State Troopers plan their response and get out in front of the wrong-way driver, providing a faster response.
While ADOT and the Arizona Department of Public Safety respond quickly to reports of wrong-way drivers, most incidents begin with 911 calls from other motorists. The advantages of this system begin with automatically alerting ADOT and DPS to wrong-way drivers at the point of entry and getting State Troopers to wrong-way vehicles faster.
This system can reduce the risk, but it can’t prevent wrong-way driving.
Phoenix-area freeways safely move hundreds of thousands of vehicles every day. When crashes do occur, research demonstrates that more than 90 percent of the time, the collision is the result of driver behavior – like speeding, reckless or distracted driving, or driving while impaired. Wrong-way crashes fit this pattern.
Beyond a detection system, coordination with DPS and local law enforcement is necessary to stop and intercept wrong-way drivers before they enter the highway system.
ADOT also continues to study new technologies that promote highway safety for all users, including tools for detection, tracking and notification of wrong-way drivers.
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