Signs to Warn Wrong-Way Drivers on 380

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG-TV9) - New digital signs will be able to quickly alert drivers as soon as a wrong-way driver is reported on I-380 in Cedar Rapids.

The Cedar Rapids Police Department partnered with the Iowa Department of Transportation to be able to run the alerts. It will allow the warning to go out within moments of a report of a wrong-way driver. The hope is drivers will have more time to react and be more alert if they see a warning sooner.

While not common, police say wrong-way crashes are particularly severe. Wrong-way crashes lead to 300 deaths per year in the U.S. Alcohol is usually a leading factor. More than 60% of wrong-way crashes involve alcohol impairment.

Police said this plan was in the works for a while and is not in response to a crash in January that killed two people.

In that case, 69-year-old Rob Norton was driving the wrong way on I-380 for several miles before colliding with another vehicle. Norton and the driver of the other vehicle, 28 year-old Jennifer Koenighain of Cedar Rapids, both died in the crash. Koenighain was driving home from a Yoga class at the time. Police have said alcohol was in Norton's system at the time of the crash but that he was not legally drunk. They said the reason Norton was driving the wrong way for so long may never be known for certain.