IRVING, Texas — The city of Irving is serving as the first city to pilot FLIR, a wrong-way driver detection system.
The cameras alert authorities by email when they detect a vehicle moving toward oncoming traffic.
Although it's new to Irving, the North Texas Tollway Authority already uses technology and smart signage to stop wrong-way drivers.
Irving is using the new technology thanks to a grant in the amount of $164,430, which paid for the installation of detection systems along State Highway 183 and 161 corridors.
For example, there are thermal sensors under the pavement at toll booths. When a driver goes the wrong way, flashing lights are activated, then alerts are sent to the 24/7 safety operations center.
Then state police officers are dispatched to the area. Other drivers are also alerted by a warning on electronic highway message boards.
NTTA has also lowered the "Do Not Enter" and "Wrong Way" signs to the driver's eye level so the signs are more visible.
In September 2020, the NTTA initiated a thermal camera pilot program to detect wrong-way drivers in the Plano area. The system alerts drivers headed into oncoming traffic with red lights that flash while mounted on signs with large letters reading "Wrong Way."
Michael Rey of the NTTA said more often than not, wrong-way drivers are impaired in some capacity, so detecting them going the wrong way as soon as possible is key.
The technology has paid off for the city of Irving. The city said that since installing the driver-detection technology, police officers believe it has prevented wrong-way driver crashes at least four different times.