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How is Arizona Working to Prevent Wrong-Way Drivers?

August 5, 2019

Arizona roads and highways are unfortunately all too familiar with wrong-way drivers. This year alone, there have already been 17 fatalities because of wrong-way drivers. Of course, lack of attention or limited signage on highways or the many one-way streets in downtown Phoenix contributes to these crashes. However, impaired drivers cause an overwhelming majority of these types of crashes. In recognition of the high number of wrong-way crashes and injuries, Arizona has taken steps to improve signage, patrolling, and utilized thermal imaging technology to reduce wrong-way crashes.

First of all, Arizona has installed larger “Wrong Way” and “Do Not Enter” signs on freeway ramps and overpasses to properly alert drivers before they begin driving the wrong way. Of course, signs alone will not prevent wrong-way driving altogether. Locating them and stopping them early is essential to preventing injuries or casualties. Accordingly, more troopers and law enforcement officers are on the roads to promote faster response times to reports or observations of one-way driving. 

One of Arizona’s more innovative wrong-way driver detection methods is its use of thermal camera technology. The department of transportation installed these cameras along I-17 last year in the hopes of reducing wrong-way incidents as part of a pilot project. The thermal detection system utilizes flashing LED warning signs aimed to alert wrong-way drivers. When these warning signs are tripped, the system activates alerts on overhead highway message boards to notify other drivers of a potential wrong-way vehicle. Also, the moment the wrong-way driver enters the freeway, all traffic cameras automatically turn toward the vehicle to help ADOT personnel track it. The thermal sensor cameras are then used to detect the vehicle on the freeway to update law enforcement officers regarding its location. Together this system allows law enforcement to efficiently stop these drivers to prevent collisions. 

There is only so much technology and patrolmen can do to stop wrong-way drivers. At the end of the day, the vast majority of wrong-way drivers are impaired in some way. It goes without saying that driving under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or limited sleep is never acceptable. Furthermore, it is our duty as drivers to remain vigilant to ensure that we are not traveling the wrong way. Finally, if you do see a wrong-way driver or are notified to one, it is important that you get out of harm’s way and alert law enforcement immediately. 

Sadly, nearly every week another wrong-way crash is reported. As car accident lawyers in Phoenix, we remind you to be smart, be diligent, pay attention, don’t rush, and be present. Of course, if you are involved in a wrong-way car crash, we, at Torgenson Law, are always ready to speak with you about your potential claim, review your insurance policy, or otherwise investigate possible avenues of recovery. Call us today at (602) 726-0747

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