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Deadly wrong-way crashes increasing in Arizona, nationwide, data shows

Troopers stop wrong-way driver on L-202 Santan
Posted at 8:45 AM, Mar 23, 2021

Deadly wrong-way crashes are becoming more frequent in our state and across the country, according to data analyzed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

National data shows that alcohol, age, and whether a passenger is in the vehicle can impact the likelihood of a wrong-way crash.

AAA says 60% of wrong-way crashes involve an alcohol-impaired driver. Wrong-way crashes also reportedly occur 87% of the time when no passenger is in the car.

Wrong-way crashes can often involve drivers who are over the age of 70, data shows.

The average number of wrong-way crashes per year and the average number of deaths in those crashes have increased in Arizona and nationwide, according to numbers from 2010-2014 and 2015-2018.

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Arizona Department of Transportation has implemented a wrong-way driver detection system in locations around the Valley, and the system is expected to continue expanding.

"Fatalities from wrong-way crashes are heading in a dangerous direction," said Aldo Vazquez, a AAA Arizona spokesperson, in a media release. "AAA and the NTSB urge state transportation agencies to adopt driver-based countermeasures to combat this deadly trend."

So far in 2021, there have been 10 media-reported wrong-way crashes in the Valley with at least four deaths.