3:36 pm
Wed December 4, 2013

State rolling out high-tech signs to alert wrong-way Thruway drivers

New measures are being put in place to prevent Thruway crashes involving wrong-way drivers.

Doppler radar-enhanced signs are going up along the New York State Thruway to alert drivers going the wrong way to take corrective action. The bright LED signs then instruct the motorist to stop, pull over, and turn around when it is safe to do so. 

One of the first such signs has been installed in downtown Buffalo on I-190 near the Peace Bridge. Thruway Authority Executive Director Thomas Madison says this is just the beginning of the high-tech initiative.

"In the future, when we connect to our fiber-optic system, the signs will actually trigger messages to motorists that are already on the Thruway system alerting them that there may be a wrong-way vehicle," Madison says.

I-90 is the only superhighway in the United States using the technology, which was developed by a Thruway Authority engineer. Madison says it's part of a continuing effort to make the interstate safer.     

"These Doppler radar-assisted LED signs, we believe, will help further enhance the already excellent safety profile of the New York State Thruway system," Madison says.

Of the more than 345 million vehicles that traveled the Thruway in 2012,  the road saw only 17 fatalities, the lowest fatality rate in its 59-year history. 

Earlier this year, the state unveiled 'text stops' for drivers to pull over and use their cell phones safely.