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What authorities can’t tell you about wrong-way drivers

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CLEVELAND-- The FOX 8 I-Team obtained video of two more wrong-way drivers on the area’s busiest highways, and we’ve found authorities don’t really know how often wrong-way drivers might be coming straight toward you.

The latest case involved a driver going the wrong way early Monday morning on Interstate 480. Ohio Department of Transportation cameras picked him up travelling on the wrong side of the Valley View Bridge. ODOT cameras show the driver traveled for several miles before getting stopped by Independence police and others.

In the wee hours of Sunday morning, ODOT cameras recorded a driver going northbound in the southbound lanes between Independence and Cuyahoga Heights. Police eventually stopped that driver, too.

We see video like this so often even ending in deadly crashes. But the I-Team found officials can’t tell how many people go the wrong way.

We found no system in place for police to report all wrong-way drivers. So the state can’t say how many were stopped or spotted on highways, but never found. The state mostly keeps track of crashes.

Last month, ODOT told us wrong-way crashes were up slightly, yet far below the total from a few years ago.

ODOT has also found most wrong-way drivers are drunk or high. Police said the driver Monday on I-480480 was drunk.

However, police said the man behind the wheel on I-77 was a senior citizen having a medical emergency.

Investigators still have many other questions about wrong-way drivers including wondering why so many of them go the wrong way in the fast lane? And why can they sometimes go for miles and miles without hitting anyone?

The state has added signs and flashing lights and alarms in many areas. Nonetheless, the biggest mystery remains how to completely stop drivers from going the wrong way?

ODOT has set up special equipment in Cleveland and Cincinnati where wrong-way drivers have been a chronic problem. Those areas include systems to detect wrong-way drivers, set off alarms and flashing lights, and possibly provide a glimpse into why these drivers get on highways the way they do.

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