Caltrans will launch a campaign Friday to help curb wrong-way crashes in San Diego County that includes installing upgrades on 67 freeway ramps.
Caltrans said its new “Education, Engineering and Enforcement” campaign will allocate nearly $9 million toward expediting wrong-way driver safety enhancements on dozens of local freeway ramps.
The agency said upgrades to wrong-way driver installations include LED flashing lights and one-way view pavement markings and arrows that can only be seen if you’re driving the wrong way.
One of those enhanced ramps is located at the Metropolitan Transit System’s City Heights Interstate 15 Transit Plaza on University Avenue, right off the I-15.
That’s where Caltrans District 11 Director Gustavo Dallarda gathered Friday alongside Councilmember Marni von Wilpert and San Marcos Mayor Rebecca Jones to unveil the campaign to local media.
Caltrans said the campaign will also aim to partner with law enforcement, elected officials and community organizations to educate drivers on the causes of wrong-way and distracted driving – and ways to reduce wrong-way accidents, which are often deadly.
Dallard said pilot programs have shown signage and flashing lights help reduce wrong-way crashes, but the agency needs the public’s help as well.
“We cannot engineer our way out of impaired and wrong-way driving,” he said. “With our partners, we will also undertake the development of a six-month public campaign effort. So, while our crews are hard at work installing these countermeasures on our off-ramps across our county, we will be working with elected officials, law enforcement, community organizations, and other state officials to educate the public on the causes and methods available to curb wrong-way driving.”
Earlier this week, there was a deadly, wrong-way crash in Spring Valley on Jamacha Boulevard, where one driver was killed.
In June, a wrong-way collision in San Ysidro took the lives of two San Diego Police Department detectives – and was the third wrong-way crash that week.
Back in June, Caltrans estimated wrong-way crashes kill 40 Californians every year.
And, although Caltrans did say that number only accounts for less than 1% of all crashes, the number of wrong-way crashes locally has climbed over the last decade as the agency works to figure out what’s behind the rising numbers.