Turn Around! FDOT seeking ways to alert wrong-way drivers
Brian Ethridge | August 25, 2014
Since 2012 there have been four deaths resulting from drivers going the wrong way in Interstate 275 in Tampa. Since that’s four too many, the Florida Department of Transportation has began to look for new way to alert wrong-way drivers.
Kris Carson, spokesperson for the FDOT, has said her department has worked hard to notify wrong-way drivers, but thus far their methods have not worked. The department is now considering some new technology that might help drivers, and ultimately save lives.
“There a software they’re looking at that would notify our traffic management center, FHP (Florida Highway Patrol) right away and then there’s also signage that we’re looking at that have radar in them and they would start flashing or they would say wrong way,” Carson said.
It’s important to note that all of the wrong-way deaths that have occurred on the interstate involved drivers who were under the influence of either alcohol of drugs. Due to that fact, the FDOT has even flirted with the idea of tire spikes that would immobilize wrong-way drivers.
“That was also studied but they found that the spike strips can actually get trash underneath them and debris. They can also damage the cars going the correct way down the ramp so that was not found to be feasible,” said Carson.
With tire spikes ruled out, Carson’s department is waiting on approval from the Federal Highway Administration to begin testing flashing signs that will alert drivers when they’re going up the wrong way ramp.
Florida has always been creative when it comes to transportation safety. For example, South Florida uses illusions to slow down speeding drivers.