UDOT aims to prevent wrong-way driver crashes with new detection and alert system
December 14, 2023
The state installed 15 new systems across the state in 2023, with 8 more to be installed soon.
This year the Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) has installed 15 wrong-way driving detection systems around the state to help prevent wrong-way driving crashes.
UDOT began installing these systems in February 2023, and is in the process of installing eight more.
There have been 18 wrong-way driving crashes in 2023, with six fatalities. This includes a fatal incident Wednesday night in Parley’s Canyon.
The new wrong-way driver detection and alert system consists of a detector unit, which includes a radar and high definition/infrared cameras, and a series of red “Wrong Way” warning signs equipped with solar-powered, high-intensity LED lights. When a wrong-way driver is detected by the radar or the cameras, the LED signs activate to alert the driver. If the vehicle continues going the wrong way, the system sends automated alerts to the UDOT Traffic Operations Center (TOC) and the Utah Highway Patrol (UHP) so the driver can be tracked and stopped as quickly as possible.
The detection system – one of the most advanced wrong-way driver detection and warning systems in the country – will continue to improve safety by preventing drivers from going the wrong way and by speeding up the process for alerting UHP and UDOT when a wrong-way driver is detected.
“It’s important that we continue to innovate and find ways to improve safety on our roads,” UDOT Traffic and Safety Director Robert Miles said. “One quick decision can lead to fatal mistakes. We hope this system can help people quickly realize they made a wrong turn and flip around before it’s too late.”
During an initial test of the new system last fall on the northbound off-ramp from Legacy Parkway at the I-15/Park Lane/US-89 interchange in Farmington, the system detected and alerted 23 wrong-way drivers, all of whom turned around. In February of this year, the Utah Transportation Commission approved a funding request for $2.5 million to install this detection, warning and alert system at 22 additional locations.
In 2022, there were 8 wrong-way crashes in Utah, which resulted in 10 fatalities. Wrong-way crashes are especially dangerous because they are typically head-on and at highway speeds.