RIDOT detection system stops 47 potential wrong-way collisions

Updated May 12, 2016

wrong wayThe Rhode Island Department of Transportation’s (RIDOT) wrong-way driving detection system has helped prevent 47 wrong-way driving incidents from resulting in crashes.

Roughly 360 people die in wrong-way crashes across the U.S., and Rhode Island has had 13 deaths in the past eight years. RIDOT says most wrong-way crashes occur during evening and overnight hours on weekends, with alcohol-impaired drivers behind the wheel.

“We are extremely pleased with the results of this system,” RIDOT Director Peter Alviti, Jr. says. “Improving highway safety and saving lives is integral to the mission of our Department. Even if the systems only prevented one wrong-way crash and the serious injuries or deaths that could have resulted, this program has proven to be a wise investment.”

In partnership with the Rhode Island State Police, the agency launched the system last year at 24 “high-risk” ramps on Interstate 95, I-195, Route 146, Route 10, Route 4, Route 6 and Routes 6/10 at Memorial Boulevard in Providence.

Sensors pick up vehicles traveling the wrong way and attempt to notify the drivers with flashing LED lights on the wrong-way signs. State and local police are notified if the driver continues going the wrong way and messages are displayed on overhead electronic signs to warn nearby motorists.

RIDOT says the system cost about $600,000 and is part of a $2 million signage and striping effort at 145 locations involving more than 200 ramps. The agency plans to install the system, along with ramp modifications, to 25 more sites in 2018.