Our View: A warning system is a good idea, but there has to be a better way of keeping impaired drivers off the road entirely.
It's late. You're on the freeway headed home. You see headlights coming toward you. It's a deadly threat that Arizona needs to address.
In a ONE WEEK period in May 2014, seven people died because of wrong-way drivers.
It was not until that point that law enforcement and transportation officials began looking for ways to save lives (even though wrong-way incidents have been occurring for decades).
Now the Arizona Department of Transportation is testing radar-based technology that could detect wrong way drivers and alert other motorists in the area, possibly through overhead message boards.
The technology is being tested along Loop 101 at Glendale and Peoria avenues. It's a good idea that would help drivers protect themselves by getting out of the way.
But it won't stop wrong-way drivers. Arizona needs to find safe ways to keep them off the roads.
This week, a minor accident Wednesday was blamed on "driver inattention" when a light-rail train hit a car going the wrong way on Central Avenue. There were no reported injuries.
Last week, a judge refused to reduce bond for Stephen B. Martin, charged with murder, aggravated assault and endangerment after his wrong-way driving on Interstate 17 killed Phoenix Fire Department dispatcher Megan Lange.
The incident happened in January. Also last week, Department of Public Safety officials safely intercepted a vehicle going the wrong way on Interstate 17 near Black Canyon City. The driver was impaired. Last month, a wrong-way driver went about three miles on Interstate 17 before being stopped by police.
Another motorist sustained minor injuries after crashing into a wall to avoid the wrong-way car. The wrong-way driver was impaired.
Those who get behind the wheel when intoxicated are pointing a deadly weapon at fellow motorists. Arizona needs find safe ways to prevent drivers from entering the freeway going in the wrong direction.
For decades, state governments have shrugged off the problems, attributing the cause to impaired drivers.
But what about the innocent drivers and occupants who are injured or killed by the wrong-way drivers?
Arizona has a responsibility to those people too. If it can do something, it should.
Educate. Prevent. Warn. Only recently has Arizona taken steps to do any of these. Hopefully headed in the right direction, but far too late for the victims of the May 2014 crashes.