Law Changing for Wrong Way Drivers

According to a report on AZ Central the Arizona Department of Transportation wants to change the law for wrong way drivers in response to an accident that killed 7 people and injured 11 more.

Most, if not all, of the drivers involved in wrong way incidents are suspected to have been intoxicated.

Statistics kept from 2008 – 2012 show that 78 drivers were killed as a result of wrong way drivers. Back in May 2014 police officer Brandon Mendoza was killed by a wrong way driver. The blood alcohol limit of the accused driver was 3x higher than the legal limit. The impaired driver traveled over 30 miles in the wrong lane. Officer Mendoza had finished his shift and was headed home. The incident began at 12:30 am.

Representatives of DPS and ADOT have gathered to discuss ideas and ways that can avoid or curtail these incidents in the future. Ideas include studying freeway ramp configuration, informing and educating the driving public about defensive driving and enforcing even further existing impaired driver laws.

Former DPS director, Roger Vanderpool, suggested that prior cutbacks have affected the ability of law enforcement to do a better job in stopping wrong way driving accidents. More officers on the roads is his suggestion for combating the increase in fatalities due to wrong way drivers.

Wrong way accidents have been rising. 17 of the wrong way crashes happened on I-10, 6 were on I-17 and 9 were on the Loop 101. ADOT has already lowered wrong way signs on exit ramps and have also installed red reflectors that help warn wrong way drivers. Of course, if someone is intoxicated some of those measures probably won’t help. But even if one drunk driver recognizes and realizes he/she is in the wrong lane or about to travel down the wrong road – the changes are worth it to save one life or injury.

Motorists are always encouraged to call 9-1-1 anytime they see a driver on the wrong side of the road. However, they are cautioned to not get involved but to watch and wait for law enforcement.