Arizona Wrong-Way Drivers

Two people were killed on January 10, 2015, after a head on collision on Loop 303, caused by a wrong-way driver.

A vehicle drove north in the southbound lanes of Loop 303 near Waddell Road and collided with another vehicle, its two occupants were killed.

ADOT has studied the recent wrong-way crashes. The study found the following:

• From 2004 through 2014, there were 245 wrong-way crashes with 91 fatalities in Arizona.

• About 65 percent of wrong-way drivers in Arizona crashes were documented as impaired during the study period, compared to 5.4 percent among all crashes.

• Twenty-five percent of Arizona’s wrong-way crashes were fatal, compared to less than 1 percent of all crashes.

• Fifty-three percent of wrong-way crashes were on urban divided highways and 47 percent occurred on rural divided highways.

• Interstate 17’s 39 miles in the Phoenix metro area had 26 wrong-way crashes during the study period and the most confirmed wrong-way crashes and fatal wrong-way crashes per mile in Arizona.

• Among rural areas, SR 89A in the Verde Valley had the highest rate of wrong-way crashes per mile, with three wrong-way crashes over 14 miles. Interstate 10 near Quartzsite had three fatal wrong-way collisions along a 16-mile stretch during the study period.

• Wrong-way crashes were more common after dark.

• Wrong-way crashes were more common on weekends.

• The majority of wrong-way drivers in Arizona were ages 16 to 35.

ADOT is planning to use sensors to detect wrong-way vehicles and to alert police, ADOT and other motorists. However, ADOT points out the limits of technology, given the role of impaired drivers. Two out of three wrong-way crashes in Arizona from 2004-2014 involved impaired drivers.