Caltrans News Flash #225 - Caltrans Tests Wrong Way Driver Pavement Markings in San Diego


New Project Builds on Previous Prevention Efforts that Reduced Wrong Way Driving Incidents by 44 Percent

District: Headquarters
Contact: Tamie McGowen
Phone: (916) 956-9343

SACRAMENTO — Caltrans today is launching a new yearlong pilot project to reduce wrong way driving incidents in San Diego. Caltrans is installing specially designed pavement markings at 30 locations through the end of the year. The markings include red arrows and the words DO NOT ENTER on the pavement that are only visible when driving in the wrong direction onto freeway ramps. This new effort follows a previous three-year pilot program that reduced wrong way driving by 44 percent.

Caltrans is testing highway markers only visible when drivers are entering the highway in the wrong direction in San Diego
Caltrans is testing highway markers only visible when drivers are entering the highway in the wrong direction in San Diego
Typical white arrow pavement markings on the highway indicate the correct traffic flow direction. Additional red pavement markings of arrows and "Do Not Enter" text on freeway ramps are visible only to wrong way drivers to communicate that they are entering the roadway in the wrong traffic flow direction.

"The number of wrong way drivers decreased significantly during the initial pilot program. The addition of these markings, along with what we have learned thus far, will go a long way as we continue to study ways to deter wrong way drivers."

Toks Omishakin, Caltrans Director

Wrong way collisions in California account for less than 1 percent of all crashes on the State Highway system but often have deadly results. On average, 37 people are killed in wrong way collisions each year and most incidents are caused by drivers who are severely impaired.

Caltrans previously partnered with the UC Davis Advanced Highway Maintenance & Construction Technology Research Center to conduct a three-year pilot program to evaluate ways to deter drivers from entering the highway in the wrong direction. In San Diego, the number of wrong way drivers decreased by 44 percent during the initial pilot after specialized reflectors, sensors and illuminated signs were installed in early 2018. The reflective markers proved to be so effective that Caltrans has already installed them on hundreds of miles of highways.

"We are constantly looking for ways to improve safety on the transportation system. If the testing of this new product is successful, it could provide a new tool to reduce wrong way driving."

Gustavo Dallarda, Caltrans District 11 Director (San Diego area)

Caltrans News Flash #225

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This News Flash is the 225th in a series of videos highlighting Caltrans' activities that present the wide-ranging and critical work that Caltrans does to enhance California's economy and livability. To see more of these and other videos, search for #CaltransNewsFlash on Twitter or visit the Caltrans News Flash page.