ADOT optimistic about wrong-way driver detection system

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In a statement, the agency says the alert system is "promising." (Source: ADOT) In a statement, the agency says the alert system is "promising." (Source: ADOT)
The testing for the system on the I-17 started in January at off-ramps and at intervals between Interstate 10 and the Loop 101. (Source: ADOT) The testing for the system on the I-17 started in January at off-ramps and at intervals between Interstate 10 and the Loop 101. (Source: ADOT)
ADOT said the $4 million system has detected more than 15 drivers heading onto the I-17 using off-ramps and frontage roads. (Source: ADOT) ADOT said the $4 million system has detected more than 15 drivers heading onto the I-17 using off-ramps and frontage roads. (Source: ADOT)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

The Arizona Department Transportation is optimistic about how well its wrong-way detection system is performing in tests.

In a statement, the agency says the alert system is "promising." 

A loud horn sounds in ADOT's Traffic Operations Center every time there is a possible detection of a wrong-way driver by one of the thermal cameras along the Interstate 17. The cameras watch the off-ramps and travel lanes along 15 miles of the Black Canyon Freeway.

[RELATED: Wrong-way drivers: ADOT’s thermal camera detection system to become reality (July 28, 2017)]

That same alarm goes to the Arizona Department of Public Safety to help troopers track down the potential wrong-way driver as quickly as possible. The detection also shows video from the thermal camera for officials to see. They can activate message boards in the area and alert drivers about the potential danger.

[SPECIAL SECTION: Wrong-way drivers in Arizona]

“While the system can’t prevent people from driving while impaired, the results so far are promising as a countermeasure to this deadly behavior,” said Brent Cain, who leads ADOT’s Transportation Systems Management and Operations division. “The goal is reducing the risk of wrong-way crashes by saving valuable time when a wrong-way vehicle is detected.”

[RELATED: Thermal cameras along I-17 have begun detecting wrong-way drivers]

The testing for the system on the I-17 started in January at off-ramps and at intervals between Interstate 10 and the Loop 101. There are 90 thermal detection cameras along that stretch.

[VIDEO: ADOT's thermal cameras detect two wrong-way drivers (Sept. 11, 2017)]

ADOT said the $4 million system has detected more than 15 drivers heading onto the I-17 using off-ramps and frontage roads. None of them went onto the freeway's main lanes, with the majority of drivers turning around on exit ramps.

The agency hasn't said if or when they will expand the system to the other freeways in the Valley.

[RELATED: DPS director says wrong-way crashes are social issue]

[READ MORE: Why spike strips won't stop Arizona's wrong-way crashes]

[RELATED: State Rep. considers law requiring spike strips to stop wrong-way drivers]

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