The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has begun work to install a "wrong-way vehicle detection system" pilot program on a handful of on-ramps and off-ramps on busy highways throughout the Commonwealth.

The $2.6 million pilot program involves 16 ramps, but none in the immediate area.

7 News Boston reported systems currently in use in Rhode Island, Texas, and Florida use flashing "Wrong Way" signs to guide drivers.

Massachusetts Installing "Wrong-Way Vehicle Detection System"
Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) Website

"The signs are equipped with radar to detect vehicles traveling in the wrong direction, sending a signal to law enforcement, while also being able to alter electronic message boards on the roads to alert other drivers," the station reported.

The Rhode Island Department of Transportation (RIDOT) stated in 2015 that it "completed a $2 million project to upgrade the signing and striping at 145 locations (more than 200 actual ramps) and install detection systems at 24 high-risk areas. These systems not only alert a driver traveling in the wrong direction, they notify the police and other motorists of a potential wrong-way driver."

Massachusetts Installing "Wrong-Way Vehicle Detection System"

RIDOT stated its plan is modeled after one in San Antonio, Texas "where 29 flashing signs were installed along a major highway. Within a year, there was a 30 percent reduction in wrong-way driving incidents."

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The Massachusetts highway ramps where the pilot program is being tested are in Bernardston, Burlington, Danvers, Plymouth, and Webster.

Massachusetts Installing "Wrong-Way Vehicle Detection System"
Mattapoisett Police Department/Facebook

Some 360 people die nationally each year in wrong-way crashes, according to RIDOT. Alcohol is a leading factor in wrong-way crashes, and most happen on weekends and during the evening and overnight hours.

MassDOT hopes to have the new system in place by spring 2023.

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