NC officials hope new technology can detect wrong-way drivers

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – Raleigh police are still investigating a wrong way crash on Interstate 40 that killed two people and sent two others to the hospital late Thursday night.

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Officials said the driver of a Honda Civic was headed eastbound in the westbound lanes near Wade Avenue and caused the crash.

According to police, they received two 911 calls.

“It looked like he might have hit someone head-on,” a caller told the dispatcher in the second one.

Police told CBS North Carolina that two people in the Civic died and two others in it were rushed to WakeMed.

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The North Carolina Department of Transportation said between 2000 and 2016 there were 507 wrong-way driver crashes statewide with a total of 145 fatalities.

Nearly half of them were alcohol-related.

Drivers are not surprised.

“Not at all,” Will Linthicum of Raleigh said.

“Yeah, I figured that. Yeah, that’s sad though,” Sabrina Toomer of Angier said.

In all, NCDOT said wrong-way crashes account for .2 percent of all crashes,

Still, the North Carolina Turnpike Authority is being proactive. In March, they’ll start testing upgrades on the Triangle Expressway.

They’ll rely on existing sensors on the ramps to determine if a driver is going the wrong way. Then signs will light up to alert that driver. Those sensors will also alert authorities.

“We picked that project — and that location is it’s our most advanced technology facility — to look at other ways that we can respond more rapidly to detecting and actively engaging a wrong way driver,” James Trogdon III, the North Carolina Transportation Secretary said.

The NCDOT said there’s no surefire way to stop drivers who are impaired from going the wrong way, but they’re hoping the new technology will help.

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...[READ MORE]   Source: WNCN Durham County News