Caltrans Implements Wrong-Way Driver Tracking System | Crowell Law Offices

06 Jan Caltrans Implements Wrong-Way Driver Tracking System

Imagine driving at highway speed and suddenly seeing a car coming straight toward you in your lane. Hopefully the driver will realize his or her mistake and try to avoid hitting you. But in some cases, wrong-way drivers are too drunk or drowsy to know that they are on the wrong side of the road. This terrifying scenario caused four fatalities in Sacramento in just six months in 2015. In response to these accidents, Caltrans is implementing a pilot plan meant to combat the deadly problem of wrong-way drivers.

The plan will include several methods to alert the person behind the wheel, and will also have the ability to alert authorities to the wrong-way driver’s presence. Visual cues that someone is headed the wrong way will be red lights on traffic barriers but with white lights for the correct direction. Larger “Do Not Enter” signs on ramps will be more difficult to miss. Above those signs will also be sensors: The first will detect the offending vehicle, and the second will track it. These sensors are hooked into the 911 system tied to the California Highway Patrol and other law officers. Cameras will be installed, as well, to capture the make of the car and its license plate. The program will kick off in two spots in Yolo County and four in Sacramento County.


What Causes Wrong-Way Drivers?

“The overwhelming majority of wrong-way drivers are impaired and not in a condition to be driving in the first place,” said Edward Cartagena, Caltrans Media Information Officer. Sixty-nine percent of these drivers have a blood alcohol content (BAC) over the legal limit of .08 percent. Unfortunately, some of the traditional deterrents don’t work as well with drunk people, according to research conducted in Texas, which is why having several stop-gap measures is helpful.

Research shows that most of these mistakes happen between 12:00 a.m. and 5:00 a.m., with 2:00 a.m. being the most hazardous hour. The other point from the study is that people over the age of seventy are especially at risk. And while wrong-way accidents aren’t as common as other types of traffic incidents, their frequency of fatalities make it vital that these issues be addressed.

As California decides to add to the pilot program, these are some of the other recommended measures:

  • “Wrong Way” signs that flash when they detect a rogue vehicle
  • Red retro-reflective tape on ramps and exit signs
  • LED-illuminated in-pavement markers or delineators at the end of exit ramps at crossroads
  • Lower-height “Wrong Way” and “Do Not Enter” signs
  • “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs placed on the same post on either side of exits


Sacramento Auto Wreck Attorneys

Whether you have been involved in a traffic accident with a wrong-way driver or have another legal matter, Crowell Law Offices handles any type of traffic case, as well as other personal injury claims and criminal charges. No matter what the legal challenge, we give our full attention and effort to each case. If you have a problem you’d like to discuss, you can count on our confidentiality during your free consultation. To get started, simply call 916-303-2800 or submit the form on this page.