Arizona Targeting Wrong-Way Drivers

Another recent Arizona wrong-way and impaired driver tragedy highlights the sometimes fatal consequences.

On April 14, a wrong-way driver caused a crash that killed two sisters, on Interstate 17 in Phoenix.

The driver had a blood alcohol level of .25 percent, three times the legal limit. The driver drove almost six miles the wrong way before hitting the decedent’s vehicle head-on.

A blood alcohol level between .16 and .3 percent amounts to “severe impairment” with effects including “dangerously impaired” driving skills and driving decision making ability, blackouts and loss of consciousness according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

The sisters, ages 20 and 18, were driving to see the sunrise at the Grand Canyon when the crash occurred.

There have been some recent efforts in Arizona to try to reduce the plague of wrong-way drivers.

Arizona is proceeding with a thermal camera technology program intended to reduce the state’s wrong-way driver problems. The technology is designed to immediately alert the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) and The Arizona Department of Public Safety (DPS) about a wrong-way driver, and to speed up the process of warning others about an oncoming driver.

The detection system is set up to illuminate a sign that alerts the wrong-way driver and authorities. Message boards will also be used to warn other drivers of a wrong-way vehicle.

Cameras will be installed between Interstate 10 and Loop 101 interchanges on Interstate 17.

The program will also help to identify the ramps where wrong-way drivers are more likely to enter the freeway.

Lower and larger “wrong way” and “do not enter” signs have also been installed on freeway ramps to attempt to curb wrong-way drivers.

Arizona Department of Public Safety has reported 956 incidents of wrong-way drivers, through July of this year. More than 80 percent of the drivers are impaired.

In Arizona, between 2003-2012 2,912 people were killed in drunk driving crashes. About one in three traffic fatalities involve a drunk driver. Most wrong-way crashes occur between midnight and 2:00 a.m.

Further efforts to reduce drunk driving involve sobriety checkpoints. Ignition interlocks installed in cars can prevent the car from starting if the driver has a blood alcohol level above a certain level, these are used for persons convicted of drunk driving.

Further, drunk driving reduction efforts include mass media campaigns, license revocation and suspension laws and school based instruction programs.

A personal injury lawyer may be able to assist injured victims or their families such as the personal injury lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts.


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