NewsOperation Safe Roads


Tempe police use new data to identify crash hotspots ahead of drivers returning to normal

Posted at 5:00 AM, Jul 12, 2021

TEMPE, AZ — It cannot be fixed if you do not know where the problems are.

The City of Tempe has been working to gather data on the top spots where they see serious and deadly crashes and why they happened.

They recently presented those findings to the city's Transportation Commission.

Here are their findings of the top 5 intersections for crash fatalities:

  • Curry Rd and College Ave
  • Curry Rd and Scottsdale Rd
  • Mill Ave and Rio Salado Parkway
  • Rural Rd and Guadalupe Rd
  • Loop 101 and University Dr

According to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, here are the top 5 reasons crashes occur:

  • Distracted Driving (the leading cause of traffic fatalities - 32%)
  • Impaired Driving
  • Aggressive Driving
  • Speeding
  • Inclement Weather

Operation Safe Roads hit the streets with Officer Lance Sewell for a ride-along.

While he is a trained investigator, it does not take a detective to spot a driver on their cell phone.

"Weaving all over the road... they're showing every... sign and symptom or clue that you'd believe to be an impaired driver," Officer Sewell explained.

ABC15 spent time with the city on an early weekday morning. Officers are looking to use that data to take a more proactive approach with more cars, pedestrians, cyclists and others now out on the road.

"In order to identify what locations are a concern, I need to know... where are accidents?" Lt. James Sweig explained. "Where are accidents occurring? Not just regular, non-injury accidents. But, injury accidents and... also, fatalities."

Lt. Sweig is leading the traffic bureau in Tempe, and he asked the crime analyst team to go back through the data over the past three years.

"From that, we identified this... basically, Rural Road corridor from Broadway Road all the way up a little north of the 202 near Curry."

That information on locations and possible causes of the crashes is what Lt. Sweig presented in front of the Transportation Commission to discuss their enhanced enforcement in these areas.

"Our goal though is not just to stop people," Lt. Sweig said. "It's if we see a violation, is to talk to them... explain to them what the safety concerns are."

The department is also taking action against street racers. From January through April of 2021, officers made 150 arrests.

Their next step is finding a long-term solution with traffic engineers.

Right now, back-to-school traffic is also top of mind with Arizona State University.