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Arizona DPS, Phoenix police partner to stop wrong-way highway drivers

PHOENIX — The Arizona Department of Public Safety is ramping up its efforts to stop wrong-way drivers on state highways with a new partnership.

The department will partner up with the Phoenix Police Department to monitor the issue this holiday season.

Phoenix Police Chief Jeri Williams said officers will be monitoring access streets along Interstates 10 and 17 and State Route 51 to track wrong-way drivers.

“We’re trying to make an impact on our community,” Williams said.

DPS head Col. Frank Milstead said stopping wrong-way drivers is a “social issue.”

“This is a drinking-and-driving, doing-drugs-and-driving issue,” he said.

“The average blood alcohol concentration of a wrong-way driver that we arrest – or who’s involved in a collision – is .18 percent. The presumptive level – where you’re presumed to be impaired – is .08 [percent].”

In June, the state Department of Public Safety found that nearly 740 wrong-way drivers had been reported on Arizona freeways this year.

A majority of the wrong-way crashes have been caused by intoxicated drivers.

In an effort to combat the issue, the Arizona Department of Transportation has begun installing a detection system to record wrong-way drivers on the I-17.

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