Connecticut, Delaware Seek to Combat Wrong-Way Driving

New campaigns launched by Connecticut and Delaware seek to reduce incidents of wrong-way driving on key state roads.

[Above photo by the Connecticut DOT]

The Connecticut Department of Transportation recently began a new public awareness campaign to highlight the dangers of wrong-way driving as part of the state’s larger strategy of reversing the recent increase in wrong-way crashes and deaths.

Image by Connecticut DOT

Wrong-way driving crashes in Connecticut tripled in 2022, according to agency data, including 13 wrong-way crashes that resulted in 23 deaths, compared to four wrong-way crashes in 2021 and just two in 2020. The Connecticut DOT added that recent studies show that wrong-way driving crashes are 100 times more likely to be fatal than other types of crashes.

The theme of the campaign is “One Wrong Move” to demonstrate how just one moment and one decision can be fatal. The campaign features spots distributed through a variety of media outlets such as television, radio, digital, and billboards, Connecticut DOT said.

In July 2022, Governor Ned Lamont (D) authorized the release of $20 million in state bond funding for Connecticut DOT to purchase and install advanced wrong-way driving technology along the state’s highways and roads.

That technology uses motion sensors to detect a driver entering a highway exit ramp from the wrong direction and rapidly flashes light emitting diode or LED lights to notify them that they are driving the wrong way.

Future installations of this technology will add the ability to notify Connecticut State Police in real time and the agency is also exploring the use of additional mitigation measures, such as in-laid pavement reflectors.

Garrett Eucalitto (at podium). Photo by Connecticut DOT.

“Wrong way driving deaths in Connecticut are up 500 percent and we are doing everything we can to reverse these trends,” added Connecticut DOT Commissioner Garrett Eucalitto. “More than 80 percent of wrong way drivers are found to be impaired. It is so important people think twice before they get behind the wheel. Driving drunk is a dangerous decision that can hurt and kill people. We need people to drive sober because one wrong move can be deadly.”

Meanwhile, the Delaware Department of Transportation recently installed a wrong way driving detection and alert system on the Exit 95 off-ramp from State Route 1 northbound to Bay Road and State Route 10 (E Lebanon Road) near the Dover Air Force Base North Gate.

Photo by Delaware DOT

The alert system is the first of its kind in Delaware to alert and correct wrong way drivers before they enter the highway.

The agency said, in 2022, Delaware experienced a sharp increase in fatal wrong way driving crashes compared to prior years, with seven fatal crashes claiming 12 lives. As such, Delaware DOT has been working to implement improvements statewide to deter wrong way entries onto highways, including enhanced signing and pavement markings at freeway entrance ramps to provide ample warning of wrong way travel.

“We are working every day to make our roads safer,” noted Delaware DOT Secretary Nicole Majeski in a statement.

“Every second counts when a vehicle enters a road and travels in the wrong direction and we will look to expand this system to other locations across the state should it prove to be a successful deterrent,” she said.

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