Governor Lamont Announces Launch of Wrong-Way Driving Public Awareness Campaign
“One Wrong Move” Campaign Seeks to Reverse the Catastrophic Recent Increase in Wrong-Way Deaths
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today announced that the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) is launching a new public awareness campaign on the dangers of wrong-way driving as part of the state’s larger strategy of reversing the catastrophic recent increase in wrong-way crashes and deaths. The campaign’s theme of “One Wrong Move” demonstrates how just one moment and one decision can be fatal. It features spots distributed through a variety of media outlets such as television, radio, digital, and billboards.
Wrong-way driving crashes in Connecticut tripled in 2022. This includes 13 wrong-way crashes that resulted in 23 deaths, compared to 4 wrong-way crashes in 2021 and 2 in 2020. Studies have shown that wrong-way driving crashes are 100 times more likely to be fatal than other types of crashes.
“Wrong-way driving crashes are many times more likely to be fatal than other types of car accidents,” Governor Lamont said. “It’s shocking how quickly the number of wrong-way driving incidents has been accelerating over these last couple of years. Reversing this trend requires a comprehensive approach that not only involves infrastructure upgrades using advanced technology – which we are doing – but also requires a heightened awareness by drivers every single time they are entering a highway. Drivers should look, and then look again to ensure they are going in the correct direction every time they drive.”
“Wrong way driving deaths in Connecticut are up 500% and we are doing everything we can to reverse these trends,” Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said. “More than 80% of wrong way drivers are found to be impaired. It is so important people think twice before they get behind the wheel. Driving drunk is a dangerous decision that can hurt and kill people. We need people to drive sober because one wrong move can be deadly.”
Anyone who encounters a wrong-way driver should call 9-1-1 and report the location as soon as it’s safe to do so. If a driver discovers they have entered a highway going in the wrong direction, they should immediately pull into the breakdown lane and change their direction when it is safe.
In July 2022, Governor Lamont authorized the release of $20 million in state bond funding for CTDOT to purchase and install advanced wrong-way driving technology along the state’s highways and roads. This technology uses motion sensors to detect a driver entering a highway exit ramp from the wrong direction and rapidly flashes LED lights to notify them that they are driving the wrong way. So far, it has been installed and is currently operating at several high-risk ramps across Connecticut, including in:
- Colchester on Route 2 at Exit 17 eastbound;
- Groton on I-95 at Exit 88 southbound;
- Milford on I-95 at Exit 34;
- Montville on I-395 at Exit 6 northbound;
- Southington on I-84 at Exit 28 westbound, Exit 29 westbound, Exit 32 westbound, and Exit 32 eastbound;
- Windsor on Route 291 at Exit 5 westbound; and
- Norwich on I-395 at Exit 24 southbound.
In addition to these ramps, CTDOT plans to install this technology in dozens more locations over the course of this year. Some of the locations that are targeted to soon receive it are in:
- East Hartford on I-84 at the westbound HOV exit;
- Groton on I-95 at Exit 87 southbound;
- Meriden on Route 691 at Exit 8 eastbound;
- New Britain on Route 9 at Exit 25 northbound; and
- Windsor on Route 91 at the northbound HOV exit, Exit 42 northbound, and Exit 42 southbound.
Future installations of this technology will add the ability to notify Connecticut State Police in real time. CTDOT is also exploring additional mitigation measures, such as in-laid pavement reflectors.
The “One Wrong Move” campaign is being funded by previously allocated money CTDOT received from the Federal Highway Administration.
U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal said, “One wrong move is all it takes to cause serious, sometimes fatal injury on the roads. We are committing much needed federal funding to reverse the tragic trend of wrong-way crashes in Connecticut. Awareness is one part of the solution, but roadway improvements, additional signage, and improved lighting are also critical to making our roads safer for all drivers. In light of the devastating loss of State Representative Quentin ‘Q’ Williams and others, these actions are imperative and urgent. I am deeply committed to continuing to fight for additional funding and resources to prevent traffic fatalities in our state.”
U.S. Senator Chris Murphy said, “The recent spike in wrong-way car crashes in our state is unacceptable, and I’m glad to see Governor Lamont take proactive steps like this public awareness campaign to make our roads safer. Many of us are still grieving for the family of Q Williams, and it’s up to us to make sure that we are doing all we can to end the loss of life because a distracted or impaired driver was on the wrong side of the road.”
U.S. Representative John B. Larson (CT-01) said, “With more than 300 driver, passenger, and pedestrian deaths, last year was one of Connecticut’s deadliest years on the roads. I’m pleased to join Governor Lamont and CTDOT to dedicate funding we delivered in Congress to take on the crisis of roadway deaths and injuries. We all must do our part to stay safe when we get behind the wheel.”
U.S. Representative Rosa DeLauro (CT-03) said, “Wrong-way driving is an issue that needs to be addressed across our entire state. Far too many families have been left devastated. This statewide initiative to raise awareness will allow us to put the proper mitigation systems, safety measures, and education on wrong-way driving prevention in place for motorists, truck drivers, bicyclists, and pedestrians. By working together, we can make all of our roads safer for our friends, families, and neighbors.”
U.S. Representative Jim Himes (CT-04) said, “I’m thrilled to see the Connecticut Department of Transportation launch this public awareness campaign to better inform drivers and protect everyone on our roads. As we saw with the tragic death of State Representative Quentin Williams, wrong-way crashes in Connecticut are often fatal, and far too common. They are also preventable. I’ll continue to advocate in Congress for federal funding that our state can use to promote traffic safety and save lives.”
State Senator Christine Cohen (D-Guilford), co-chair of the Transportation Committee, said, “Anything we can do to increase public awareness of wrong-way driving is worthwhile. We know that this issue is multifactorial, and education is one component. Of note is that 40% of all traffic deaths in Connecticut are related to impairment, and most wrong-way crashes involve a driver under the influence of drugs or alcohol. It is vital that we employ as many countermeasures as we can to combat the increases in wrong-way crashes. ‘One Wrong Move’ is one of our tools.”
State Representative Roland Lemar (D-New Haven), co-chair of the Transportation Committee, said, “We must embrace new crash prevention technologies and incorporate best practices from across the country to reduce the frequency of deadly wrong-way highway collisions. The alarming increase in these types of crashes demand immediate action and I am grateful to the CTDOT and Governor Lamont for their leadership on this issue.”
State Senator Tony Hwang (R-Fairfield), ranking member of the Transportation Committee, said, “Preventing these terrible tragedies requires a holistic approach, and public awareness is a key part of that strategy. Education can be highly impactful whether it is regarding prevention of impaired driving from alcohol and marijuana or prevention of wrong-way driving. This initiative can – and likely will – save lives, and that should be our common goal as Republicans and Democrats.”
State Representative Kathy Kennedy (R-Milford, Orange), ranking member of the Transportation Committee, said, “Connecticut is currently being defined by the rapidly rising number of wrong-way driver accidents and deaths. With a focused investment in driver education and infrastructure improvements, we can reduce wrong-way driving accidents in Connecticut. Together, we can establish these safe driving practices and make our drivers more confident in returning home safely.”