People still driving wrong way on Central Florida toll roads, but program working

ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. — Five dozen drivers went the wrong way on some of Central Florida’s toll roads, according to new numbers from The Central Florida Expressway.

Channel 9's Racquel Asa found out the ramp just off State Road 408 to Hiawassee Road has the most documented cases, where people are driving up the ramp the wrong way and being picked up by detection devices.

The devices have been added along some of Florida’s toll roads to alert drivers someone is going the wrong way down the road. The devices also record a series of still images when someone drives the wrong way.

Professor Haitham Al-Deek, who works at the University of Central Florida, has been working on the wrong way driver detection program with The Central Florida Expressway Authority.

He told Eyewitness News that since February 2015, the authority's 24 wrong-way detection devices have logged 60 drivers entering toll roads the wrong way. However, the warnings caused a majority of those drivers to turn around.

“Out of these (60 drivers), we have documented 45 turn arounds,” Al-Deek said.

In cases where the driver continued to go the wrong way, one of those ended in a crash. A driver in October entered State Road 417 the wrong way at Colonial Drive and crashed several miles down the road.

“It worked perfectly in that case as well. It detected the wrong-way driver and alerted the traffic operations center. FHP didn't have time to act and get there in time,” Al-Deek said.

The Central Florida Expressway plans to install 34 wrong-way detection devices by February.