Personal Injury Attorney Arizona | After a string of wrong-way driving accidents that killed seven people and injured 11 during a short period. The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) is taking steps to prevent these types of accidents.
During the last week of June, ADOT crews started work on installing safety measures. These were designed to prevent drivers from entering freeways in the wrong direction.
The changes include new and larger “Do Not Enter” and “Wrong Way” signs posted at exit ramps at six interchanges. The signs will also be placed lower, in hopes that this will make it more likely that impaired or confused drivers will notice them.
Exit ramps will also have arrows installed on the pavement showing the correct direction of travel. These markers will include red reflectors to warn wrong-way motorists.
Personal Injury Attorney Arizona: Wrong-Way Accidents
Law enforcement and transportation officials held an emergency meeting to discuss how to deal with the “epidemic” of wrong-way drivers. This was following a Gilbert crash in the part of Loop 202 known as the Santan Freeway. This is also where an off-duty Mesa patrol officer was killed.
Among the steps being discussed are stepping up enforcement of laws regarding impaired drivers, studying freeway ramp configurations, and educating the public about how to drive defensively when faced with a wrong-way driver.
A former Department of Public Safety official said that more law enforcement officers are needed to patrol the roads to stop impaired drivers before they get to the highways. He noted that officers had been laid off in recent years due to budget cuts.
Alcohol was apparently a factor in all of the recent wrong-way accidents. The blood-alcohol level of the driver who killed the Mesa officer was three times the legal limit when he caused the crash that also took his own life. He had driven more than 30 miles in the wrong direction on Valley freeways before the accident.
According to the Arizona Department of Transportation, there were 80 wrong-way collisions from 2009 to 2011. And the number of the accidents decreased over the three-year period. There were 18 such crashes in the entire state in 2011.
Wrong-way crashes are most common on Interstate 10, Loop 101, and Interstate 17. And interchanges on those freeways were where the new safety measures were installed.