SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol are looking for ways to prevent deadly wrong-way crashes.
The Sacramento region saw four deadly wrong-way crashes in the first half of the year. The freeway crashes leave victims with little time to react.
“If you’ve been in patrol long enough you’re going to see every kind of crash where cars are cut in half and people are flying out of cars,” said CHP officer Michael Bradley.
The 21-year veteran has investigated too many deadly wrong-way driver crashes.
“Some of those crashes are the most violent crashes,” he said.
The first crash this year claimed the lives of three teenagers near Madison Avenue on Interstate 80. In April, a woman smashed head-on into a truck on Highway 50, leaving four people dead. In early May, a mother and her two daughters lost their lives on Interstate 505 in Arbuckle. Also in May, another head-on collision was in the same general area as the January crash.
“About every year there are about 23 wrong-way-driver deaths in the state,” Caltrans spokesman Matt Rocco said.
Caltrans is spearheading a two-year study to stop wrong-way drivers before they start, getting their attention before they enter a freeway on an offramp.
“To alert the driver that they are going the wrong way and hopefully they turn around before they hit the freeway,” he said. “What we’re looking at is enhanced signage, maybe adding additional signs with lights on them to get the driver’s attention, also enhanced marking on the pavement either brighter or reflective, etc.”
Caltrans is also looking at alert systems other states are using.