MODOT testing new technology to prevent wrong-way collisions - KMOV.com

MODOT testing new technology to prevent wrong-way collisions

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There have been four serious wrong way crashes across the St. Louis area in the past five weeks. (Credit: KMOV) There have been four serious wrong way crashes across the St. Louis area in the past five weeks. (Credit: KMOV)
There have been four serious wrong way crashes across the St. Louis area in the past five weeks. (Credit: KMOV) There have been four serious wrong way crashes across the St. Louis area in the past five weeks. (Credit: KMOV)
ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV.com) -

There have been four serious wrong way crashes across the St. Louis area in the past five weeks.

The latest coming on Wednesday morning on I-55 just south of downtown, leaving one woman dead and two others injured.

Following these serious collisions, News 4 decided to take a closer look to see if there are ways to prevent these potentially deadly accidents.

MODOT is looking into the issue as well, and they're working with new technology that could alleviate the problem.

For example, the "Wrong Way" sign at I-44 and Lafayette is equipped with an electronic device that can detect a wrong-way vehicle.

In fact, there are about a half dozen of these devices on ramps throughout I-44. 

"They actually detect the presence of a vehicle going the wrong way and start flashing, it's an attempt to get the impaired driver's attention more than just a static sign that you have to actually read and see," Tom Blair of MODOT said.

Currently, the devices are part of a pilot program with MODOT in the early stages of testing the technology.

The idea behind the device is to alert a wrong-way driver with flashing lights on the sign, but it's actually much more than that.

"So if anybody tries to drive down the ramp the wrong way, if set up correctly and operating correctly, they can contact local law enforcements, MODOT, and other agencies," Blair said.

Blair said a faster response time can save lives.

A vehicle going the wrong way and coming at you in your lane has been called one of the most terrifying sights a driver can imagine.

Police say if a wrong-way driver is heading toward you, immediately slow down and get to the far right.  The National Transportation Safety Board says seven out of nine head-on wrong-way crashes occur in the lane closest to the median.

"Slow down, pull to the right because your natural instinct is your shoulder is to the right side," Mike Thompson of Chesterfield Police Department said.  

Thompson said even the wrong-way driver may assume the shoulder is to their right and will pull the wheel that direction to avoid the collision.

As far as electronic devices detecting wrong-way drivers, one safety expert said the cost may be a factor.  Consider there are thousands of ramps that would have to be outfitted. He said Departments of Transportation around the country may not have the money available.

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