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Number of wrong-way crashes in Arizona down, but impaired drivers up

PHOENIX — The latest numbers on wrong-way drivers give the Arizona Department of Public Safety a glimmer of hope.

Trooper Kameron Lee said from Jan. 1 to Aug. 20, there have been 42 wrong-way collisions on Arizona roads. There were 43 last year.

Eight of the collisions were fatal, in contrast to 11 deadly wrong-way crashes a year ago.

The numbers have started to go down, which makes Lee very thankful.

“We’re starting to see some numbers trending in the right direction,” he said.

“(But) it may take us a little more time to really say, ‘You know, we’re starting to really see some good progress.'”

On the other hand, troopers have made 79 impaired-driver arrests in these collisions. At this time last year, Lee said, 48 drivers were arrested.

“Whether that’s because we’re able to get to them sooner, or if there’s more DUIs, I don’t know,” Lee said.

“All I know is, troopers are out there working very hard to arrest these drivers.”

The latest wrong-way driving arrest came on Wednesday, when Victoria Paloma, 32, was driving in the wrong direction on the U.S. 60 near Morristown. Lee said she was charged with aggravated DUI.

But officials hope that a new state law that allows impaired wrong-way drivers to be charged with a felony will lower those numbers even more.

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