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Phoenix freeway crashes surge 30 percent

Posted at 5:49 PM, Feb 02, 2016

From fender benders to multi-car pileups, drivers on Valley freeways are seeing an increasing number of traffic accidents.

ABC15 looked at Department of Public Safety data to determine highway wrecks have zoomed up from less than 18,000 in 2011 to more than 23,000 in 2015. That’s an increase of 30 percent over just four years, and it averages out to an extra 14 to 15 wrecks per day in the Phoenix metro area. The smash-ups slow your commute and put everyone on the road in danger.

Troopers blame bad behaviors behind the wheel, including speeding and distracted driving.

“Cars are doing 70 to 80 miles an hour, and it takes one little thing to cause a pileup on the freeway,” Trooper Estevan Roman said.

ABC15 rode along with Trooper Roman Tuesday as he pulled over and ticketed drivers.  However, he says he spends much of his shift responding to accidents, especially during rush hour. He says the worst areas in his patrol area are I-17 southbound between Thomas and McDowell roads and I-10 eastbound between 91st and 83rd avenues.

“I think traffic starts backing up about there,” Roman said.

Roman said drivers can reverse the trend if they “pay attention a little bit more.”