More Wrong-way freeway driving; can detection help?

Some recent news items. Also, be sure to check out the “cold medicine” guy from a few days ago…

These are the kinds of upgraded gigantic signs that WW drivers must pass to enter freeways.

6/6/2017 double-fatality ~8PM, began driving around airport, including through parking structures the wrong way and breaking through the arm/gate: Wrong way driver 56-year-old Ronald Wayne Mollenhauer killed another driver, Young Lee on  a transition ramp between I-10 and SR51. A third driver was injured. Given the ww driver is dead, you probably won’t hear much about this again. Was he impaired by drugs or alcohol, or some other impairment? Most ww drivers are. We’ll have to wait for FARS to find out which will report any chemical testing results.

6/11/2017 apparently no collisions.  A 25 y.o. Tempe man, Podave Riley, was charged with extreme DUI (0.174, that would be 28-1382) and endangerment (that would be 13-1201) (these are both class 1 misdemeanors), after driving the ww on Loop 101 near Scottsdale.  Endangerment stems from “Two people were in a car exiting the freeway at the time and the driver had to take evasive action”. It’s good to see prosecutors pile on the charges, simple DUI doesn’t really cut it. It makes me wonder why endangerment (or even aggravated assault) isn’t charges more often when (alleged) drunk drivers are obviously endangering people like Ryan Winkle, arrested a couple of weeks ago for DUI was said prior to the stop police observed “three pedestrians in the crosswalk jumped out of the way as he approached”.

Wrong way driving is predominantly an impaired driving problem

Despite that fact, and despite the fact that ww freeway driving is associated with only a tiny percentage of Arizona traffic fatalities; as was pointed out here,  it’s about 8 per year on average out of ~ 1,000  AZtraffic fatalities per year …

Arizona is plowing ahead with a multi-million dollar technological ww freeway driver detection scheme; and and while it might have some other beneficial carry-over effects, it would seem that the money could be better spent on plain-old enforcement on freeways and all other roads. Regular enforcement actions catch impaired drivers by the boatload. The best this scheme can do is catch the tiny handful of wrong-way (usually impaired) drivers on the freeway.

 

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