Governor Lamont Signs Legislation Expanding the Use of Wrong-Way Driving Alert Systems
(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Ned Lamont today signed legislation into law directing the Connecticut Department of Transportation (CTDOT) to install wrong-way driving alert systems on at least 120 additional highway exit ramps statewide that the agency has identified as high-risk.
CTDOT began installing this technology on exit ramps in 2020 and continues to expand its use statewide. The technology uses cameras to detect a driver entering a highway from the wrong direction and rapidly flashes bright red LED lights to notify them that they are driving the wrong way. Future installations will add the ability to notify Connecticut State Police in real time.
Additionally, the legislation directs UConn to begin testing the use of directional rumble strips that alert drivers through vibration and sound when driving the wrong way, and directs CTDOT to pilot the use of variable electronic message signs along the highway to alert motorists of a potential wrong-way driver.
The legislation is Public Act 23-51. It was approved in the House of Representatives and the Senate by unanimous votes.
“It is shocking how quickly the number of wrong-way driving incidents has accelerated over these last couple of years, and we need to do more to prevent them,” Governor Lamont said. “Reversing this trend requires a comprehensive approach that not only involves infrastructure upgrades using advanced technology, but also requires a heightened awareness by drivers every single time they are entering a highway. This is an issue that we cannot take lightly, and we must continue researching new and emerging methods of preventing wrong-way driving incidents.”
CTDOT conducted an analysis of more than 700 ramp locations statewide. Those where on-ramps and off-ramps are located on the same side of the roadway, near establishments that serve alcohol, or lack highway illumination are included in a list of 236 high-risk locations.
“Our team at the CTDOT is working hard every day to prevent these crashes from happening. We’re adding more wrong-way detection systems to exit ramps, continuing public education campaigns, and piloting new technology,” Transportation Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto said. “But we are counting on the public to do their part as well. Nearly all of these crashes are caused by impaired drivers. We need travelers to always plan for a safe ride home if they plan to drink, and for motorists to drive sober each and every time they get behind the wheel.”
Wrong-way driving crashes in Connecticut tripled in 2022. This includes 13 wrong-way crashes that resulted in 23 deaths, compared to four wrong-way crashes in 2021 and two in 2020. Studies have shown that wrong-way driving crashes are 100 times more likely to be fatal than other types of crashes. In Connecticut in 2022, more than 80% of wrong way drivers were found to be impaired.
For more information on the state’s efforts to curb wrong way driving, visit ct.gov/dot.