SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4) – A new system of radar, cameras, and signs are coming to I-15 that will alert drivers, as well as the Utah Department of Transportation and Utah Highway Patrol, that they are driving the wrong way.
UDOT announced the new technology in a tweet on Monday, saying it is one of the “most advanced wrong-way driver warning and detection systems in the country.” The tweet also included a video of the detection system in action.
In the video, controlled testing showed a UHP Trooper driving the wrong way. A bright LED light activates, illuminating the trooper and “wrong way” signs down the road began flashing red. In a video of the system in action, an SUV can be seen turning around immediately upon seeing the LED signs, before they even light up.
If the wrong-way driver continues to drive the wrong way, a text message and email are sent to UDOT and UHP, alerting them of the driver and where they are. According to UDOT, the technology has been in testing for “several months” and has been implemented on the northbound off-ramp from Legacy Parkway at the I-15/Park Lane/US-89 interchange in Farmington.
“We’re always looking at ways we can use technology to make our transportation system work better,” said UDOT Traffic and Safety Director Robert Miles. “This innovative system will help prevent wrong-way crashes, making our roads after for everyone who uses them.”
According to the Utah Department of Public Safety, there were 25 wrong-way crashes in 2022. Eight of those crashes were fatal, resulting in 10 deaths. So far in 2023, there have been at least 4 wrong-way crashes, with at least three deaths, after two died on I-15 on Sunday, Feb. 12. The latest crash comes just weeks after a devastating wrong-way crash on I-15 killed one and critically injured.
UDOT said the field-test system in Farmington detected and alerted 23 wrong-way drivers since it was installed last fall, all of whom turned around.
The success of the system in Farmington led to the Utah Transportation Commission to approve a $2.5 million funding request to install the cameras and signs at 20 additional locations across Utah. UDOT said most of the locations will be centered along I-15 in Salt Lake City.