The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) is launching a pilot program this winter that will help harness the technology already available on the Triangle Expressway (SH 540 in western Wake County) to curb wrong-way crashes.
According to NCDOT, there were more than 500 wrong-way crashes between 2000 and 2016. Another one happened early Wednesday morning in Durham when a white Toyota RAV4 traveling east in the westbound lanes collided with a FedEx 2018 Volvo 18-wheeler. Wednesday's crash happened just before 1 a.m. and closed most of the westbound lanes of the highway near the I-540 interchange for a few hours overnight.
While wrong-way crashes represent only 0.2% of crashes on North Carolina highways, officials say the number is concerning, as there have been more than seven wrong-way crashes in the last two months in the Triangle area.
The pilot program would be similar to one currently being used in Arizona, and uses both cameras mounted on toll gantries and chips built into the roads to monitor and alert wrong-way drivers.