ADOT, DPS Work Together To Combat Wrong Way Drivers On Arizona Highways

By Chloe Jones
Published: Monday, December 3, 2018 - 3:50pm
Updated: Monday, December 3, 2018 - 4:00pm
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A wrong way driver who crashed into an Arizona Department of Public Safety patrol car near Flagstaff was charged with attempted homicide on Friday. This was one of the 57 wrong-way collisions this year to date, compared to 2017, there were 55 collisions. Fatalities this year due to these collisions are down by four compared to 2017, according to DPS.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has been working with DPS to stop wrong-way drivers before they cause a collision. ADOT spokesperson Doug Nintzel explains that physical devices to stop wrong-way drivers from entering the freeway are not yet feasible. He said adding tire spikes on a freeway setting is not practical. Nintzel explains ADOT launched a trial project on Interstate 17.

“It’s the first time that someone has used thermal cameras and actually set them up with a computerized system so that we can have immediate alerts when a wrong-way vehicle is detected trying to enter the freeway,” he said.

Nintzel said a study of this project’s efficacy will be out this spring, but says that the results they’ve seen thus far are promising.

Quentin Mehr, spokesperson for DPS, said the most effective way to keep the public safe from these collisions is to speak up if you see it.

“People when they see it, they report it. And we tell people if you see something, say something. Dial 911 if you see a wrong-way driver. Don’t wait for someone else to report it, take the initiative and do it.”

Mehr said that the majority of these wrong-way drivers are impaired by drugs or alcohol.

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