The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has successfully pushed through its plan to pilot a thermal testing program that aims to detect wrong-way driving. The system will be installed this fall along Interstate 17 between Interstate 10 and Loop 101.
This project was started in 2015 when wrong-way driving was identified as one of the major causes of freeway accidents, especially along the targeted stretch of Interstate 17. Wrong-way driving resulted in an annual average of 22 crashes and eight deaths, based on recorded reports from 2004 to 2014.
With the high accident risk involved, the Arizona state Transportation Board finally approved the construction of the $3.7 million thermal detection project. Arizona Governor Doug Ducey pushed to speed-up the installation of the pilot system as wrong-way driving accidents continue to occur.
As an overview, the function of the thermal testing program is three-fold: early detection of wrong-way driving, immediate action to prevent an accident, and accurate tracking of wrong-way drivers.
The thermal system will detect wrong-way vehicles travelling along mainline freeways and freeway exit ramps. When the sensors recognize a wrong-way vehicle, this triggers the system to immediately activate alerts, such as warning signs with flashing lights to correct the wrong-way driver, or make him stop. Also, the system will make other drivers aware of the wrong-way vehicle by displaying alerts on overhead message boards. Moreover, sensors and cameras are put in place to focus and identify the wrong-way vehicle and accurately track its location. In this way, police can respond in a timely manner and prevent accidents.
The thermal detection system can minimize the risk of wrong-way accidents “by significantly improving the timeliness and accuracy of information” made available to wrong-way and right-way drivers, and traffic officers, according to ADOT.
Being a pilot program, the effectiveness of the Arizona thermal detection system will serve as a benchmark for future expansions of the system in the U.S., especially in states that have higher fatality rates associated with wrong-way driving.
If you have been the victim of a wrong-way driver or other traffic offender, you may be able to recover money for your damages. Contact Alexander Law Group, LLP at 888.777.1776, or online for a free consultation.