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Caltrans Says Most Wrong Way Crashes Involve Impaired Drivers; Continues To Add Safety Measures

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — A fiery head-on crash shut down part of I-5 at the I-80 interchange Tuesday morning.

The California Highway Patrol says a suspected DUI driver was traveling in the wrong direction on Southbound I-5 when they crashed into a big rig head-on.

Both drivers are expected to survive, but a North Highlands family of five involved in a wrong-way crash didn't have the same fate.

A mother, father and two children under 10 died after being hit by a wrong-way driver who was also suspected of DUI on I-80 in the Sierra. The lone survivor from that family was a 4-year-old boy.

"We take the matter very seriously. We believe this is something that needed to be addressed," said Dennis Keaton, a spokesperson with Caltrans.

Just last year, Caltrans and UC Davis completed a pilot program aimed at adding preventative measures to avoid wrong-way crashes. We asked Caltrans about their findings and what recommendations the department has made and is continuing to make on the roadways.

"All ramps that are now constructed or ramps that have been constructed in the past are to be fitted with the red reflector lights on them," Keaton said.

He adds that signs are also larger and there are sensors that trigger cameras that alert Caltrans and the California Highway Patrol about wrong-way drivers.

"In doing that, we still continue to have some incidents and the biggest finding was that impairment was a factor in the majority of all of these collisions," Keaton explained

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