CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — Our area has seen its share of wrong-way driver fatalities this month: An 84-year-old woman was killed in one of those crashes, and then a 54-year-old man died in another one just this week.
TxDOT officials say they’re looking at putting in wrong-way driver-detection systems all across Corpus Christi in an effort to try and identify those wrong-way drivers and get them off of the street before they do any damage.
The first of those systems is being installed along the Harbor Bridge, on the off-ramp to Concrete Street Amphitheater.
It’s not yet operational, but, eventually it, and others, will be up-and-running in the spots around town which have seen the most wrong-way driving incidents.
"They will have a camera on it, flashing lights, in addition to the signs," said TxDOT Public Information Officer Rickey Dailey. "That is to get the attention of the drivers. Research shows that if you can get the attention of a wrong-way driver going up an exit ramp, they will often self-correct.”
The cameras that are part of the wrong-way driver-detection system also will be used to alert police.
"The system will take a picture or video of the vehicle that’s going the wrong way," he said. "It will send that to first responders -- primarily law enforcement -- so, that they can respond, and they will have a picture of the vehicle and will also be able to see if the vehicle pulled over.”
At least one county official loved the idea, and is hoping it can eventually be installed throughout the county.
"Maybe it’s a system that not only should be used on one-way TxDOT roads," said District 4 Commissioner Brent Chesney. "Maybe we ought to be looking (at putting them) everywhere, because this just doesn’t happen on TxDOT roads, it happens on county roads and city roads.”
TxDOT officials said they don’t have a timeline for when the wrong-way driver detection systems are going to be operational, but they do feel that once they’re running, they’ll make a significant difference on the roadways.