After three fatalities due to wrong-way crashes in the past week, Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, calls this a societal issue.
Though we don't know the cause of the most recent wrong-way crash Tuesday night, Milstead said many of these cases involve drivers who are impaired.
"The roads haven't changed, but people's behavior has changed," Milstead said.
DPS said just before 8 p.m. on Tuesday, an unidentified wrong-way driver hit and killed 54-year-old Young Lee. Lee owned Don's Fine Cigars on Central Avenue and Camelback Road.
Milstead said the wrong-way driver came from Sky Harbor and was having trouble there, too.
"He drove through one of the arms that keep people from going a certain way," Milstead said. "He drove through that arm, and there was someone in a crosswalk he came very close to striking, as well."
Milstead said he then drove westbound in the eastbound I-10 lanes, and went the wrong way on the 51 HOV ramp before crashing. He was also killed.
"Whether it's impairment, it's a medical issue or a psychological issue, we don't know the answer," Milstead said.
Milstead said spike strips can't put up with wear and tear and might not stop cars immediately. But ADOT plans to install an early detection system for the I-17 in the fall.
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"It detects you at the top of the ramp going the wrong way, and I think there are flashing lights, and if you don't self-correct, it will detect you at the bottom of the ramp again with more flashing lights," Milstead said. "There's been discussion about having a camera that takes a picture of the driver and license plate going in the wrong direction."
We asked ADOT for more details about this program, but they say they will have more information in the coming weeks.
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In the meantime, Milstead encourages drivers to be vigilant.
"At night, drive on the right-hand side of the roadway. Stay out of the carpool lane and the high-speed lane after hours if you can," he said. "It's just safer on the other side of the road."
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