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IDOT, AAA and Kendall County Sheriff’s Office promote digital safety innovation

IDOT Blog – Tuesday, July 25, 2023

IDOT is collaborating with AAA and the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office to evaluate how effective a new tool will be in informing motorists during emergency situations. The Sherriff’s Office is one of three agencies who will implement a digital alert system that will provide early warning notifications to motorists approaching emergency scenes or when emergency vehicles approach vehicles on the road.

“It’s great to finally see these systems being tested and evaluated,” said IDOT Safety Programs Unit Chief Juan David Pava, who joined AAA and the Sheriff’s Office in announcing the alert system in late June. “I look forward to seeing the results on the effectiveness and reliability of these systems.”

A grant from AAA allowed the Sheriff’s Office to equip 20 patrol vehicles with the technology. Motorists can receive the alerts on their smartphones or by using Waze, Apple CarPlay or Google CarPlay when a Sheriff’s Office vehicle is nearby. AAA said the system aims to reduce response time for emergency services and allows motorists to make informed decisions and safely navigate around emergency situations as required by Scott’s Law, commonly known as the Move Over Law.

“By staying informed and leveraging technology to our advantage, we can work together to create safer roadways, protect our first responders, and safe lives,” said Kendall County Sheriff Dwight Baird.

Over the next three years, IDOT is investing $250,000 to research how effective the Digital Alert System Technology is, and how to increase its use. Research will evaluate the system’s effectiveness in reducing operating speeds, increasing compliance with Move Over Law requirements, and reducing the number of crashes and near-crash instances.

“Having the location of emergency vehicles with lights activated broadcasted to navigation apps and in-cab notification systems for compatible vehicles is a big deal,” Pava said. “I’m hopeful for positive results from our research and allowing us to look at implementing this technology in more first responder and IDOT vehicles. I am confident that increased use of innovative technologies will save lives.”