SAN DIEGO (CNS) – Caltrans Wednesday launched a yearlong pilot project in San Diego designed to prevent wrong-way freeway crashes via conspicuous warning signs embedded in the roadway at freeway offramps.
The “DO NOT ENTER” messages — which will include red arrows and be visible only to motorists trying to use highway exits as entrances — will be installed at 30 locations in the city by the end of the year, the state agency reported.
The project follows up on a previous three-year effort credited with reducing local wrong-way driving by more than one-third.
“The number of wrong-way drivers decreased significantly during the initial pilot program,” Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said. “The addition of these markings, along with what we have learned thus far, will go a long way as we continue to study ways to deter wrong-way drivers.”
Though collisions caused by motorists driving against traffic account for less than 1% of all crashes on the state highway system, they often have deadly results. On average, 37 people are killed annually in the state in wrong-way accidents, most of them caused by drivers who are severely intoxicated, according to Caltrans.
During the prior pilot program, the number of documented wrong-way- driving incidents in San Diego decreased by 44% after specialized reflectors, sensors and illuminated signs were installed on local roadways in early 2018, officials said. The measures proved so effective that Caltrans went on to establish them on hundreds of miles of highways.