SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — Caltrans is launching a new campaign to deter wrong-way drivers in San Diego County.
In 2020, the agency added signs and reflectors to several freeway off-ramps but critics said that's not enough.
Caltrans said it's a crime that's happening more and more.
"Over the last three years, there have been 78 wrong-way drivers reported to the CHP throughout San Diego County and these incidents have claimed the lives of 17 people and have injured countless others," said Chief Scott Parker, CHP Border Division.
In an effort to curb the trend, Caltrans has implemented engineering solutions like reflective signs that tell drivers they are going the wrong way.
"We're planning to continue installing these at all of our ramps in the district. Our next batch will be starting this summer. Another 200 ramps will get that treatment. Next year another 150 ramps will ultimately get the same treatment as well," said Gustavo Dallarda, director Caltrans District 11.
Caltrans has also installed detection cameras at troubling spots for wrong-way drivers around the county. The cameras capture a snapshot when they are triggered by a wrong-way driver.
"But it's still not enough to prevent multiple wrong-way crashes every year. We cannot just engineer ourselves out of this problem," said Dallarda.
That's why they are launching a new campaign to educate drivers about the dangers of wrong-way driving.
Caltrans and the office of traffic safety partnered with Mother's Against Drunk Driving because CHP said more than half of all wrong-way collisions involve driving under the influence.
"When someone is tragically lost to this 100 percent preventable crime, it not only affects their families. It affects the schools they go to. It affects the gyms that they do different classes. It affects their church community,"
The campaign will be rolled out via social media, billboards, and digitally with the tagline, 'Don't mistake a life.'
Caltrans and OTS launches Wrong Way Driver education and prevention campaign to reduce incidents caused by wrong way drivers. “DONT MISTAKE A LIFE” reminds people not to make a mistake and end up taking someone’s life by entering the freeway in the wrong direction. pic.twitter.com/Wz5rU4hha5— Caltrans San Diego (@SDCaltrans) May 24, 2022
Leaders also encourage drivers to use rideshare apps and other means of transportation when under the influence.