Safety Officials Meet To Discuss String of Wrong-Way Fatalities

By Carrie Jung
Published: Monday, May 19, 2014 - 2:29pm
Updated: Monday, May 19, 2014 - 3:42pm

After a string of fatal wrong-way driver crashes in Phoenix, state highway safety officials held an emergency meeting over the weekend to discuss ways to keep more Arizona drivers safe. In the past six days, seven people have died after being hit by a wrong-way driver.

The latest incident occurred early Sunday morning when a pickup truck collided with another car on the Loop 202 in Gilbert. The driver and passenger of the car going the correct direction died on the scene.

Bart Graves is with the Arizona Department of Public Safety. He says while wrong way driving is not uncommon in the state, last week’s string of fatal wrong way crashes is unprecedented.

"It’s highly unusual to have this kind of carnage on the highway in one week," he said. "We’re very concerned about it and we’re utilizing all of our resources at DPS to deal with it."

Garcia says officials are focusing on the three E’s of highway safety: Enforcement, by removing impaired drivers from the roads; engineering, by studying on and off-ramp set ups that can effectively interrupt people driving the wrong way; and education, by providing drivers with defensive driving education.

According to the National Transportation Safety Board an average of 360 people are killed each year by wrong-way drivers nationwide.

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