The California DOT (Caltrans) this week is launching a new yearlong pilot project to reduce wrong-way driving incidents in San Diego by installing specially designed pavement markings at 30 locations through the end of the year.
The markings include red arrows and the words DO NOT ENTER on the pavement that are only visible when driving in the wrong direction onto freeway ramps. This new effort follows a previous three-year pilot program that reduced wrong-way driving by 44%, according to Caltrans.
"The number of wrong-way drivers decreased significantly during the initial pilot program," Caltrans Director Toks Omishakin said in a statement. "The addition of these markings, along with what we have learned thus far, will go a long way as we continue to study ways to deter wrong-way drivers."
Wrong-way collisions in California account for less than 1% of all crashes on the state highway system, but often have deadly results. On average, 37 people are killed in wrong-way collisions each year, and most incidents are caused by drivers who are severely impaired.
Caltrans previously partnered with the UC Davis Advanced Highway Maintenance & Construction Technology Research Center to conduct a three-year pilot program to evaluate ways to deter drivers from entering the highway in the wrong direction. In San Diego, the number of wrong-way drivers decreased by 44% during the initial pilot after specialized reflectors, sensors, and illuminated signs were installed in early 2018. The reflective markers proved to be so effective that Caltrans has already installed them on hundreds of miles of highways.