ADOT to Test if More Signs, Bigger Signs Will Stop Wrong-Way Drivers

People keep driving the wrong way on Phoenix-area highways, and the Arizona Department of Transportation is going to see if signs do the trick.

Just in the last two months, seven people have been killed by wrong-way drivers, and there were two more crashes caused by wrong-way drivers this week.

See also:
-Mesa Police Officer Killed by Wrong-Way Driver
-ADOT Tested Systems to Detect Wrong-Way Drivers Last Year

ADOT's going to see if more signs, larger signs, and better-placed signs will cut down on the number of people who go the wrong way onto highways.

All local freeway off-ramps already have "Do Not Enter" and "Wrong Way" signs, and the reflectors along the lane markings on the freeways show red if you're going the wrong way.

ADOT picked the six sites with the most reports of wrong-way drivers, and is implementing the new signage.

ADOT says the new "Do Not Enter" will be 18 inches higher and longer, for a total of 4 feet high by 4 feet wide. The "Wrong Way" signs beneath them will also be 4 feet wide. These signs will be posted 3 feet off the ground, compared to the current standard, which has them 7 feet off the ground.

ADOT will also use those red reflectors in the shape of arrows to warn people they're going the wrong way.

"It is not yet known how long the new signs and other changes will be studied before a decision is made about an expansion of the program to other state freeway or highway locations," an ADOT statement says. "There are more than 100 traffic interchanges on the Phoenix-area freeway system and more than 475 interchanges along the rest of the state highway system."

Here are the location of these new signs:

  • Interstate 17 and Carefree Highway (State Route 74)
  • Loop 101 (Agua Fria) and Thunderbird Road
  • Loop 101 (Agua Fria) and Peoria Avenue
  • Interstate 10 and Ray Road
  • Interstate 10 and Wild Horse Pass Boulevard
  • Interstate 10 and Queen Creek Road (State Route 347)

In the past, ADOT has tested some high-tech systems that are supposed to alert authorities that a driver has entered a highway going the wrong direction. An agency spokesman told us they're still in the study phase on that technology.

Among the people killed recently by wrong-way drivers was 32-year-old Mesa police officer Brandon Mendoza. Mendoza was heading home from his shift when he was hit by an allegedly drunk driver who managed to drive the wrong way on various highways around Phoenix for about 30 miles, even though the Arizona Department of Safety had received reports of the wrong-way driver.

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Matthew Hendley
Contact: Matthew Hendley