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Phoenix-area suburb launches safe driving campaign aimed at limiting traffic accidents

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LISTEN: Martha Maurer on 'Drive wise, Surprise' Campaign

PHOENIX —  There is no autocorrect for bad driving. Don’t compete, share the street! There’s no need for speed.

These catchy phrases are part of the new traffic safety campaign launched Wednesday by the Surprise Police Department.

The slogan: “Drive wise, Surprise.” The play on words, delivered through bright, colorful and creative signs will be on display at various parts of the West Valley city.

Some of the signs used in the city of Surprise's new safe driving campaign. (Photo: Martha Maurer/KTAR)

Some of the signs used in the city of Surprise’s new safe driving campaign. (Photo: Martha Maurer/KTAR)

“The city of Surprise is the fifth-fastest city in the country,” said Terry Young, Surprise Chief of Police.

As a result, he said, there are more traffic and more accidents: Population numbers in Surprise have more than quadrupled since 2000.

Last year, there was an increase of 10 percent in total traffic accidents from 2015 to 2016. The year before that, that number was eight percent. From 2013 to 2014, the increase was only six percent.

“Since 2012 to today, a total of about 25 percent increase in total accidents,” said Young.

Surprise law enforcement and city officials hope to tackle the issue and encourage residents in their city to drive a little wiser.

Statewide, the Arizona Department of Transportation reported an increase of more than six percent in traffic accidents from 2014 to 2015.

A big concern for Young is that more and more people are driving distracted. A big number of drivers also admit to experience anger, aggression or road rage behind the wheel.

The city plans to distribute the message through social media and new signs on the road.

“We’re going to start with about 15 [signs] at the key corridors that come into the city,” Young explained. They’ll then be either moved or added to other areas.

The campaign is planned to be in place indefinitely.

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