Arizona seems to be having a wrong-way driving epidemic.
By early June, there were already 740 wrong-way drivers reported in this year alone in Arizona. That’s nearly 4 per day! And the Department of Public Safety (DPS) is making sure to clarify that this is indeed per incident, not just numerous phone calls about one wrong-way driver.
So what’s going on here? The DPS Director, Frank Milstead, said that more than 80% of wrong-way drivers are impaired. He believes people should start stepping up and really making sure their friends or family don’t get behind the wheel if they’ve been drinking — even if they seem able to drive. But what about the other 20%? It could be due to a multitude of factors such as wrong-way signs not being visible enough or confusing on-ramps, but it’s difficult to tell when not all wrong-way drivers are caught.
After a recent wrong-way crash took the lives of 2 people, ADOT (Arizona Department of Transportation) has just approved a $3.7 million initiative to stop and catch wrong-way drivers. It will use thermal-detection cameras to locate the wrong-way drivers and alert them, as well as other drivers and the police, using flashing lights on freeway ramps, and illuminated, bright signs and messages on overhead boards.
What else can we tell from the released ADOT report? Well, not only are drivers usually impaired, 40% of them are very impaired — over almost double the legal limit. Perhaps not surprisingly then, crashes peak Saturday night to Sunday morning, with the peak time being around 2 a.m. If you find yourself driving around that time, you may want to be extra vigilant on the freeway.
Most of the drivers are also men and millennials; however, the trend starts to go down after 35 and then back up, with the elderly wrong-way drivers averaging around 72 years old. They probably account for the wrong-way drivers that researchers say were “confused.” With worsening eyesight, hopefully, the new ADOT initiative of illuminating lights and messages will help stop any confusion.
Wrong-way drivers are very dangerous, drunk or otherwise. 1 in 4 crashes that occur due to driving the wrong way are fatal; only 1% of all other car crashes are. If you see anyone drinking and trying to get into a car, try and stop them. If you see any drivers swerving around or maybe drunk, report it. You could be saving lives.
If you or someone you know was involved in a car accident, contact a car accident lawyer Phoenix AZ trusts. Alex & Associates have 37 years of successful personal injury settlements and experience. Contact us today for a free consultation at (602) 483-6114 or fill out a quick contact form here.