Over the past several years, Arizona highways have been home to numerous wrong-way collisions, many of which result in fatalities. Jason Pohl of The Republic details both the tragic events and a new possible solution to wrong-way collisions in his article Closures planned, work begins on wrong-way driver system on I-17 in Phoenix. Pohl illuminates some somber statistics such as, “91 fatalities were the result of 245 wrong-way collisions on Arizona divided highways from 2004 to 2014.” Furthermore, “10 fatalities resulted from 69 wrong-way collisions on Arizona highways this year.” To make matters worst, most of the collisions were caused by intoxicated drivers. As stated in the article, the high death toll and number of serious injuries has prompted ADOT to take action. Therefore, work on a new thermal-camera project costing $3.7 million is currently in progress.
The new thermal-camera project uses the latest technology and is the first of its kind. Experts have isolated the I-17 as especially problematic for wrong collisions, and thus the detection system will extended alongside the highway for 15 miles. Experts also recognized that wrong collisions are not an isolated incident, thus future plans for other problematic highways are likely to come. The new system works in three different ways. First, a wrong-way sign will illuminate and flash when a driver passes by the cameras on the highway off ramp. Next, once a wrong-way driver detection is made; DPS and ADOT are immediately altered. The third means of prevention is by signaling other motorists of a wrong-way driving by using the overhead message boards. Construction on the new system will begin this weekend and therefore will cause freeway closures.
Although many wrong-way collisions will be avoided, the system is far from perfect. Due to immense costs, many dangerous stretches of highways will be without the new system for the time being. Drivers should remain especially vigilant during the early hours of the morning on highways lacking the new thermal-camera system. Attorney Kevin Garrison has represented numerous car collision victims and their families over the past 25 years. Garrison Law Firm provides clients with expert legal representation. Should you or a loved by injured on the roadways Garrison Law Firm can assist you.