From January to August of 2017, nine people died and 15 more were injured in involving wrong-way accidents in Arizona.
This increase made headlines and prompted much discussion from state lawmakers. To address this issue, several solutions are in development, including thermal detection and spike strips to prevent wrong-way drivers.
Arizona’s cities have not been left unscathed in this spate of accidents. One person died in an accident here in Tucson on August 21, 2017, for a total of 11 fatal one-way crashes. (That number was up from a total of five by this point in 2016.) A four-injury accident on southbound I-17 near Black Canyon City shut down roads only a few days before.
The situation has grown alarming enough that Governor Ducey issued a statement. At the beginning of June of 2017, the Governor announced, “I have instructed the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Safety, and my Office of Highway Safety to convene immediately and increase efforts to mitigate and prevent this public safety issue.” That announcement came in the aftermath of a crash on State Route 51 in Phoenix that killed two people.
Wrong-way accidents are common occurrences in Arizona. At the Khalidi Law Firm, we are committed to helping people injured in vehicle accidents. To learn more about how our wrong-way crash lawyers can help you, contact us to get a free consultation and find out if you have a case.
What Causes Wrong-Way Accidents?
Wrong-way accidents can be the result of driver negligence, distraction, or intoxication. But they can also be caused by poorly marked roads or simple unfamiliarity with the area. It is uncertain what is causing the recent spike in wrong-way fatalities here in Arizona, which has been one reason for the difficulties in solving the problem.
Wrong-Way Driving: How to Solve the Problem?
Since Governor Ducey’s June announcement, two new initiatives have been introduced in order to curb the rise in wrong-way driving deaths. One of these involves repurposing old techniques, while the other calls for some new technology to be put into application.
- In August of 2017, State Rep. Michelle Ugenti-Rita announced her intention to introduce a bill that would require spike strips to be installed on exit ramps. This proposal would prevent further accidents by puncturing the tires of cars attempting to enter highways improperly via the exit ramps. This idea has been in the air since early this year, and Ugenti-Rita believes it would result in a decline in wrong-way fatalities.
However, the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has expressed doubts that spike strips would be effective. ADOT Director John Halikowski has said, “Based on our research, it doesn’t look like tire spikes are used anywhere on a highway to stop wrong-way drivers.” Ugenti-Rita dismissed ADOT’s concerns as “a bunch of excuses.”
- The other proposed solution comes from the placement of thermal cameras that will detect wrong-way drivers preemptively. After the cameras detect a wrong-way driver, they are meant to trigger a warning to the driver and to the Department of Public Safety. ADOT officials will then update message boards that warn oncoming traffic about the wrong-way driver.This program is being tested on a 15-mile stretch of I-17 in Phoenix. If it proves successful, it may be instituted on a statewide basis.
Although both measures may be put into practice, there is still no definite solution to the problem of preventing wrong-way fatalities here in Arizona.
Injured? Find Out if You Have a Case
If you’ve been injured in a wrong-way accident here in Tucson, it is important to move quickly. You should get in contact with a local lawyer you can trust. It is important to talk to someone who will evaluate the details of the accident and who can run a thorough investigation to help you get what you deserve.
In cases like this, there are many potential at-fault parties that should be considered. Highway construction and maintenance personnel can be liable in the case of poorly maintained or improperly marked highways. In the case of multiple-car accidents, the insurance companies involved could be liable for damages. Of course, the wrong-way driver could also be found responsible for the accident.
The Khalidi Law Firm has more than 20 years of experience helping injured drivers recover compensation from negligent drivers. If you’ve been seriously injured in an accident on a one-way street, or any other accident in which you were not at fault, contact the Tucson wrong-way accident lawyers at the Khalidi Law firm for a free consultation.