FHP makes move to prevent wrong-way drivers on highways

Local 6 News at 5:30p
Local 6 News at 5:30p

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Florida Highway Patrol and the Central Florida Expressway Authority are using technology created by a University of Central Florida professor to make highways in Central Florida safer.

"Drivers need some way of being warned," said FHP Sgt. Kim Montes. "This system will warn them what's coming toward them."

The system Montes describes uses two sets of traffic signs -- four in all -- to warn drivers who drive up exit ramps on highways that they are driving in the wrong direction.

The first two sensors are located near the bottom of the ramp. Once they detect an on-coming car, they flash red, warning the driver they are going the wrong way. If the driver continues in that direction, a second set of sensors will again warn drivers.

Montes said if drivers continue beyond that and enter the highway, cameras will notify the Florida Highway Patrol and the command center.

"A camera there will confirm that a driver is a wrong way driver," Montes said. "A message is sent to our communications hub within seconds that the driver is headed the wrong direction."

Once the command center is notified, Montes said FHP will post warnings on electronic signs throughout the highways that a wrong-way driver has now entered the highway.

"We had 134 cases of wrong-way drivers since February," Montes added. "It's a growing trend. We hope that this technology can help alert drivers before it's too late."