LAS VEGAS (KTNV) — Following a wrong-way crash on Interstate 15 that killed four people and injured two more, the question remains if there will be any safety improvements made to help prevent these wrong-way crashes.
#Fatal update. It’s been confirmed we have 4 fatalities with at least 6 vehicles involved. Anticipate the IR15 southbound, south of Sloan to be closed for approximately 5 hours. We will update when travel lanes are back open.#DriveSafe #LivesAreOnTheLine #WrongWay #NvStatePolice— Nevada State Police Highway Patrol Southern Comm (@NVStatePolice_S) January 11, 2022
U.S. 95 at Durango is the site of the valley's only wrong-way driver alert system. But there has been an increase in wrong-way drivers in recent years, and Las Vegas residents will see more alert systems installed because of it, officials with the Nevada Department of Transportation say.
“To have three innocent people — just driving down the freeway, minding their own business — lose their lives should not be acceptable to anyone,” said Erin Breen, director of the Road Equity Alliance Project. “I don’t know, my patience is completely over with selfish people making stupid decisions.”
The Nevada State Police Highway Patrol's southern command responded to about 140 wrong-way driver calls since January of last year. And the Nevada Department of Transportation says that most of these involve impaired drivers.
NDOT just wrapped up a three-year study on its wrong-way alert systems, and we’ll be seeing a couple dozen of them installed in Southern Nevada. They tip police off to a wrong-way driver and send them a video clip of the vehicle.
“I’m really hopeful that the new technology that’s going to be coming online in the next year is going to help reduce those crashes,” said Justin Hopkins, a public information officer for NDOT.
There are 37 wrong-way driver alert systems in the state, but only one in the valley. NDOT plans to change that by this time next year.
“We found that they are incredibly successful,” said Hopkins. “They have an 89-percent success rate in alerting drivers and turning them around before they even make it to the freeway. Obviously, once you’re on the freeway, that’s where the highest risk is. So, our hope is by alerting the drivers before they even get off the ramp, that’s going to reduce those crashes.”
U.S. 95 at Kyle Canyon and various points on I-15 between the Spaghetti Bowl and South 215 will have the first systems. At this time, the specific ramp in Sloan where the incident happened will not have one of the new systems, but that could change.
“Drive alert and keep your eyes peeled for anything out of the ordinary so that you have an opportunity to save yourself,” Breen said.
Meanwhile, an ongoing campaign throughout the state has police cracking down on distracted drivers. If you are driving distracted, i.e., with the dog on your lap, doing makeup, or anything similar, you could be ticketed.