DETROIT (WWJ) — It’s a problem that has had fatal consequences: wrong way drivers on area freeways.
With wrong way driving becoming a growing problem, MDOT engineers and the Michigan State Police are teaming up to tackle this issue. Both organizations announced a new initiative on Monday to help reduce wrong way driving on local freeways.
One way of improving this issue is by creating an alert system that can notify other drivers of a wrong way driver on the road. The two groups are working together on this new system, which will include posting alerts on roadside message signs and newly installed detection cameras for the earliest possible alerts of wrong-way drivers.
“Automatically they get alerts to start looking for the driver on the channels,” MDOT traffic safety engineer Josh Carey said. “We have a network of cameras that look for that driver and at the same time state police are sending troopers over to the driver, trying to look for them and stop them.”
Carey added that reports of wrong way drivers on Metro Detroit freeways happen “once or twice a week.” Eight fatalities have been attributed to such cases over the past five years.
“For the most part they do occur in the middle of the night,” Carey said. “Obviously we do get a lot of impaired drivers but it’s also confused or unfamiliar drivers.”
The goal for 2018 is to reduce the number of wrong way drivers by 20 percent compared to the previous year. In addition to more cameras monitoring local freeways — MDOT also plans to install larger, reflective signage at entrance and exit ramps.
MDOT also said more improvements and enhancements will be included in future projects to modernize or reconstruct interchanges.