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New safety systems deter wrong-way drivers in Rhode Island

This autumn in New England was a dangerous time for wrong-way highway collision fatalities. Five teenagers died in a head-on crash in Vermont in September, and then last month another five died in Massachusetts in a similar incident.

Statistically, these types of collisions are relatively rare, with only 3 percent of all wrecks being caused by wrong-way drivers. Yet, these collisions are as much as 27 times as fatal than other types.

Rhode Island has decided to avert the next tragedy by being proactive and installing safety systems designed to alert wrong-way motorists to their driving errors. The director of the state Department of Transportation discussed the new crash avoidance systems in a recent interview.

He said, "We worked with the state police . . . to develop . . . systems that we installed at 25 locations . . . [with] a radar-activated system that detects vehicles moving in the wrong direction on a particular ramp."

These systems were placed on ramps with frequent wrong-way driving incidents. Initially, the state installed 25 systems, with another 25 set for installation in the near future. Already, there has been a marked decline in collisions, as over the past year-and-a-half, no wrecks injuries or fatalities have occurred where the sensors are located.

The cost-benefit analysis appears to be on target, as well, costing roughly $25,000 at each location. As part of a larger $2 million project, $600,000 was earmarked for the systems, which have thus far averted 66 incidents of wrong-way driving before tragedy struck.

If you or a family member are injured in a wrong-way crash, it may be necessary to take legal action in order to be compensated for injuries and other losses.

Source: WBUR, "How Rhode Island Is Trying To Prevent Wrong-Way Accidents," Oct. 27, 2016

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