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Route 195 in Fall River, Route 3 in Plymouth, Route 6, to be part of Wrong-Way Driver Highway Alert System



Photo courtesy of Jason Burns

With 80 people dying in wrong-way driving crashes on Massachusetts highways in the past decade and several in just the past few weeks, MassDOT is creating a system to warn drivers.

According to CBS Boston, MassDOT is working with Pine Ride Technologies in North Reading to come up with a wrong-way driver warning system similar to one used on two dozen highway ramps in Rhode Island.

How it works is when a driver enters the wrong way on a highway ramp, a radar system triggers warning lights to flash along the ramp. The hope is that the wrong-way driver corrects their mistake before they reach the highway.

Since Rhode Island instituted the system, 150 wrong-way driving events since May of 2015 have resulted in no fatalities and only one crash.

According to the MassDOT crash data portal, 150 people have died in wrong-way crashes since 2010 including over 4,500 injuries.

In November, there was a wrong-way operator crash on Route 24 southbound in Fall River involving a sedan and a tractor-trailer which resulted in serious injuries.

In addition to alerting the driver, the system also alerts Massachusetts State Police and MassDOT’s operations center.

MassDOT Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver states that MassDOT can also activate other signs to give drivers the message that there is a wrong-way driver in the area.

MassDOT is creating a pilot program with the technology that will include 17 exit ramps. Some of the ramps involved will be on Route 195 in Fall River. Route 3 in Plymouth and Route 6 in Barnstable will also be part of the program.

The sites were chosen based on areas that could lead to driver confusion or spots where there were previous wrong-way driving incidents.

MassDOT plans to have the systems working by the summer. If the pilot program is a success, more ramps could be added.

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