After a recent increase, Arizona officials and the Department of Public Safety are trying to figure out how prevent deadly wrong way car accidents from occurring on state highways.
Recent Wrong Way Car Accidents
In the most recent wrong way car accident, two adults had to be taken to the hospital after one of the drivers (with a suspended license for a previous DUI) drove his sedan into another. Two other young adults from Mesa died when a wrong-way driver struck their vehicle. Earlier in May three people from Indonesia died in a wrong-way accident when their minivan was struck by a wrong-way driver. And a May 12 wreck on a Tempe freeway ramp killed both the wrong-way driver and an off-duty Mesa police officer.
Enforcement, Engineering, and Education to Prevent Wrong Way Car Accidents
Recently directors of the state Department of Public Safety, Department of Transportation and the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety met to review the accidents and discuss strategies for how to decrease the numbers of these dangerous incidents. In a joint statement the agencies said they are focusing on enforcement, engineering and education and that removal of impaired drivers from the highways. According to Department of Transportation Director John Halikowski, the ADOT might not have immediate engineering changes it can make, but it is looking at practices elsewhere in the country to identify any that should be adopted in Arizona. In an effort to help, ADOT previously lowered “wrong way” signs on freeway ramps to be closer to a driver’s eye level. For the past two decades reflectors that display red to wrong way drivers have been installed in freeway lanes.
Preventing Wrong Way Car Accidents
The agencies' statement said motorists should “expect the unexpected” on the road. Additionally, they should not drive distracted and report all suspected impaired drivers immediately to law enforcement. One way you can help officers intercept a wrong-way driver, is to notify the police. When you call regarding a wrong way driver try to provide good information on the vehicle, location and direction of travel.