It’s an all too common headline we’ve seen repeated over the past few years: “Wrong-way Driver Causes Collision on Arizona Freeway.” As of July 13, 2017, DPS reports that their troopers have responded to 928 calls regarding wrong-way drivers this year alone. Of these calls, 14 have resulted in injuries and 7 in fatalities. Ultimately, 48 of these drivers were arrested.
In an attempt to combat this growing problem, the Arizona Transportation Board approved a $3.7 million project in June of 2017. As wrong-way drivers cannot be fully prevented, this project instead focuses on self-correction and warning other drivers on the road. This project is the first of its kind in the United States and will use a combination of thermal detection and cameras on a 15 mile stretch of the I-17 to alert law enforcement of a wrong-way driver’s presence and illuminate flashing lights and signs to deter the wrong-way driver. Those well-known freeway message boards often lit up with witty remarks about driving safely will now be used to notify other drivers on the freeway of the existence of the wrong-way driver. Construction on the I-17 will begin this fall (from the I-10 to Loop 101) and is scheduled to last approximately seven months.
DPS recommends the following safety measures for drivers on Arizona freeways:
- Avoid distracted driving: Focus on driving so that you can respond appropriately and take evasive action if necessary
- Plan ahead: Have a plan in mind in the event you encounter a wrong-way driver in order to respond to the situation as quickly as possible
- Call 911: Do not assume another driver has already called – report the wrong-way driver immediately
Castillo Law echoes these recommendations and urges everyone to stay alert any time you are behind the wheel to help ensure a safe arrival at your destination!
 Not all calls revealed an actual wrong-way driver