ARIZONA NEWS

Number of wrong-way driving incidents in Arizona up in 2017

Dec 22, 2017, 3:34 PM
Follow @KTAR923...

PHOENIX — The issue of wrong-way drivers continues to plague Arizona — and it’s appearing to get worse.

Col. Frank Milstead, the head of Arizona Department of Public Safety, told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the number of wrong-way driving incidents have grown by more than 8 percent from 2016 to 2017.

Since Jan. 1, Milstead said the department has logged 1,721 incidents of wrong-way drivers across Arizona.

By this time last year, that number was at 1,589, Milstead said.

Milstead said multiple public information campaigns, a partnership with the Phoenix Police Department and the installation of a $3.7 million thermal detection system on the Interstate 17 has had some effect, but not enough.

The public safety head said impaired driving is to blame for a majority of those incidents, expanding on his September comment that about 70 percent of wrong-way crashes on state highways are caused by impaired drivers.

“If you look at the numbers of arrested drunk drivers over the last 10 years, they haven’t changed a lot because we as a society haven’t gotten in front of this issue and decided it’s unacceptable,” he said.

Milstead has also said in the past that a lack of police officers is one of the main reasons there are more wrong-way drivers on state freeways.

It is no secret that state leaders, including Gov. Doug Ducey, have wanted to put an end to the wrong-way driving problem that has plagued the state over the years.

The state began construction on a wrong-way driver detection system in November.

The project was approved by the state Transportation Board in June and then accelerated by Ducey after a series of wrong way accident-related deaths occurred in the same month.

The detection system, once installed, will cause lights to flash at wrong-way drivers to get them to stop. They will also alert authorities and make traffic cameras turn toward the driver so the vehicle can be tracked.

They are expected to be operational by early next year.

KTAR News’ Kathy Cline contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(City of Peoria Photo)...
Audrey Jensen/Phoenix Business Journal

Peoria approves tax incentive agreement with mixed-use project developer

Peoria moved forward with what could be the final development agreement needed for a new mixed-use office project called Stadium Point.
7 hours ago
Follow @KTAR923...
KTAR.com

Downtown Chandler hosts life-sized holiday treats display ‘Sugarland’

Downtown Chandler kicked off the holiday season with an interactive Christmas display filled with life-sized treats on Saturday.
7 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Police arrest suspect in stabbing death of 33-year-old man in Phoenix

Police arrested and charged a man with murder in the stabbing death of a 33-year-old man in Phoenix late Saturday, authorities said.
1 day ago
(Facebook File Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Man taken to hospital by family after being shot in Phoenix dies

A 33-year-old man who was taken to a hospital by family members Friday night after being shot in Phoenix has died.
1 day ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...
KTAR.com

Police seek public’s help in shooting death of man in Phoenix

Police are asking the public for information in the shooting death of a 30-year-old man in the parking lot of a business in Phoenix.
1 day ago
(Metro-Phoenix Public Affairs Council Photo)...
KTAR.com

Christmas lights return to Latter-day Saints temple in Mesa after 5-year hiatus

Christmas lights have returned to the Latter-day Saints temple in Mesa this season after more than five years since they were last showcased.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

...
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Prep the plumbing in your home just in time for the holidays

With the holidays approaching, it's important to know when your home is in need of heating and plumbing updates before more guests start to come around.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
...
Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet can improve everyday life

Quantum Fiber supplies unlimited data with speeds up to 940 mbps, enough to share 4K videos with coworkers 20 times faster than a cable.
Number of wrong-way driving incidents in Arizona up in 2017