Officials to launch pilot program to help curb wrong-way crashes
Posted November 14, 2017 6:55 p.m. EST
Updated July 13, 2018 1:40 p.m. EDT
Raleigh, N.C. — Officials say a pilot program, launching this winter, will help harness the technology already available on the Triangle Expressway (N.C. Highway 540 in western Wake County) to curb wrong-way crashes.
"We'll be adding signs that light up in different areas along the Triangle Expressway at some of the interchanges and along the main line on the Triangle Expressway," said Carly Olexik with the North Carolina Department of Transportation.
The program is similar to one currently being used in Arizona, and uses both cameras mounted on toll gantrys and chips built into the roads to monitor and alert wrong-way drivers, before a crash.
Sixteen large signs will be linked along the road and will light up and flash when cameras detect a driver going the wrong way.
Turnpike Authority staff will monitor the cameras and be notified instantly via a pop-up message and email.
The Wrong-Way Driver Detection program will be used exclusively on the Triangle Expressway at first. The state will gather and examine data with the hopes of expanding the program to other toll roads.
"There's technology on the roadway that already exists. It's a matter of advancing it," Olexik said.
According to the NCDOT, there were more than 500 wrong-way crashes between 2000 and 2016, with 145 people killed and another 643 injured.
There have been more than six wrong-way crashes in the last two months in the Triangle area.