Government announces $5 million to prevent wrong-way highway accidents

FRANKFORT, Ky. — The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has received more than $5 million to improve highway traffic safety, including innovative technology to prevent oncoming crashes, Gov. Andy Beshear announced Monday.

What do you want to know

  • Federal funding targets road safety in Kentucky
  • Kentucky will receive $5.14 million for a technology system to prevent oncoming traffic collisions on freeways
  • Kentucky is one of 10 grant recipients this year
  • Between 2015 and 2020, there were 88 reverse driving accidents in Kentucky where a driver used an off ramp in the wrong direction

With funding from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration, Kentucky‘s $5.14 million fail-safe and contraflow technology system will use “computing and video processing to implement a pilot program to detect and deter wrong-way incidents by alerting the wrong-way driver, other drivers and emergency responders,” Beshear said in a press release.

“Contraflow driving is a major safety challenge, not just in Kentucky, but across the United States,” Beshear said. “These funds will allow us to use innovative video technology to help monitor and enhance security in hallways prone to these types of incidents.”

Additionally, the system will enhance existing intelligent transportation systems to monitor and detect other safety issues related to pedestrians, debris and vehicles stopped on the roadway.

“Improving road safety is at the heart of the concerns of the Transport Cabinet,” said KYTC Secretary Jim Gray. “These funds will allow KYTC to use the latest technological advancements to help prevent accidents, injuries and fatalities on our roads.”

The contraflow system and fail-safe technology plans consist of four elements:

  1. detection system – Identifies misdirection incidents and other security issues in real time
  2. deterrence system – Activates warnings to discourage oncoming drivers
  3. Alert system – Inform travelers of the right direction and emergency responders
  4. Main line monitoring system – Identifies mainline safety issues (pedestrians, debris, broken down vehicles, etc.)

Kentucky is one of 10 grant recipients from the Highway Administration’s Deployment of advanced transport and congestion management technologies program this year.

Between 2015 and 2020, there were 88 wrong-way driving accidents in Kentucky where a driver used an off-ramp in the wrong direction. These 88 accidents resulted in 16 deaths and 27 serious injuries.

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