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A new way to prevent wrong-way crashes

Posted at 7:34 AM, Nov 21, 2018
and last updated 2018-11-21 07:50:00-05

Fifteen people died in wrong-way crashes in Michigan last year; three of them were in Jackson County and two of them at Interstate 94 and Sargent Road.

"If we can have devices that can warn people not to make these wrong-way decisions, perhaps we can prevent these fatalities in the future," said Kendall Wingrove of the Office of Highway Safety and Planning.

The Michigan Department of Transportation says the Sargent Road interchange is the right place to test its new wrong-way alert system.

"Because of that unique layout, we thought it would be a great place to insert the system. It will be the first in Michigan," said MDOT Communications Representative Aaron Jenkins.

A combination of lights and cameras will be able to warn drivers who make a wrong turn, day or night.

"This system will alert a driver that may not be aware of the area, and when they see those flashing lights, they'll understand that they're going the wrong way," said Jenkins.

The system is part of the state's Towards Zero Deaths Campaign. It's an effort between MDOT and state police to reduce the number of traffic deaths.

"The key is to help drivers make proper decisions and prevent them from making wrong ones," said Wingrove. "The vast majority of deaths are based on decisions, good or bad, made by drivers."

They want to start by keeping 2018's number of deaths to less than last year's 967. The ultimate goal is to make sure no one dies on the road.

"That's what we want," said Jenkins. "We want to have zero traffic fatalities, and we're doing everything we can, and this is a great step forward to make that happen."