RI to install wrong-way driver alert system

Rhode Island wants to make roads safer, especially from drivers going the wrong way on local highways.

"We were approached by the state police. They noticed an increase in occurrences of wrong-way driving on freeways," said Robert Rocchio of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

The consequences can be deadly, and they are not isolated to Rhode Island.

The DOT plans to implement 20 detection devices in locations all over the state, but mostly concentrated in the Providence and Pawtucket areas, and other locations where there's a high volume of traffic.

Here's how they are designed to work.

"If a vehicle enters the off-ramp in the wrong direction, it would light up a sign telling them -- on both sides of the ramp -- that they're going in the wrong direction," Rocchio said.

If the driver keeps going, two more steps will happen.

"One, it will send a message to the overhead electronic message boards that we have on our roadways alerting motorists of the potential of a wrong-way driver. And it will also send either a text or an email to the state police notifying them to dispatch a trooper," Rocchio said.

The system is automated, and there's money in the budget to build it.

"It's been budgeted. We're using safety funds to implement," Rocchio said.

The wrong-way alert system will be installed over the summer and be operational in the fall.