HARTFORD, Conn. — Two people have been killed in wrong-way crashes to date this year. One of them, State Rep. Quentin Williams, was hit by a wrong-way driver hours after he was sworn into a third term at the Capitol. Now, a new legislative proposal would implement wrong-way detection systems throughout Connecticut.
“Where there are 360-degree cameras that detect if a driver is going the wrong way then a series of flashing lights come on and the local police are notified,” said state Rep. David Labriola, who serves on the Transportation Committee, is proposing to expand a current pilot program underway at the Department of Transportation.
DOT officials identified 236 ramps deemed high priority and began adding flashing LED lights and cameras to over a dozen ramps. But this is no small problem. There are 700 ramps across Connecticut. Last year, lawmakers allocated 20 million dollars to increase the latest technology. The DOT outfitted 16 ramps with flashing lights in 2022. They’re planning to do more than 60 this year.
“We had 12 crashes and 23 fatalities, which is the most in recent Connecticut memory. We’re really accelerating our efforts to do more,” said DOT Spokesman Josh Morgan. “Adding more than were required by federal highway standards, making them larger than federal highway standards. Trying to make them as visible as possible.”
Costs to expand wrong-way detection systems across Connecticut could be prohibitive and will certainly be debated this session. The Transportation Committee is set to resume in-person meetings Wednesday.
“We’re talking about saving lives, protecting our families and our constituents so you really can’t put a price tag on it,” Labriola said.
Fatal wrong-way crashes happen at night and in the early morning hours and 80% involve impaired drivers. Connecticut State Police also caution the public to drive in the right or middle lanes overnight because wrong-way drivers will often be in the fast lane.
Samaia Hernandez is a reporter for FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
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