Season’s greetings to everyone who will be driving on the I-10 near downtown Phoenix or between Phoenix and Tucson: welcome to the “zero tolerance” zone. Going two miles over the speed limit with your family of carolers fa-la-la-la-la-ing in the back seat while you head to your brother’s house? Ticket. Your grandma uses the carpool lane to pass someone during rush hour so she can get home to make those famous latkes? Ticket. The New Year’s Eve Ball drops without signaling its lane change, crashing into another motorist? Ticket.
There’s no denying that Arizona drivers have earned a very negative reputation. In 2015 alone, there were more than 100,000 collisions in total, more than 50,000 injuries, and almost 900 people died. Sadly, the fatality rate in 2015 was about 15% higher than 2014. Not surprisingly, December claims the highest number of collisions, probably due in large part to the number of people visiting from out-of-state and people driving more aggressively due to the high amount of traffic and shorter tempers brought on by too many relatives visiting and too much to do. Alcohol played a role in about 5% of the accidents; the most prevalent cause of crashes? Speeding. Oh, and did we mention that most of Arizona still doesn’t prohibit you tapping away on your phone while behind the wheel?
So what do we have to say about these Safety Corridors? Let’s start with the basics: obey the traffic laws and drive safely! During the holidays with more people on the roads than normal and drivers visiting from out-of-state who may be unfamiliar with the areas and driving slower (or trying to turn right from the left lane, we know), a bit of patience and a lighter foot on the gas pedal will go a long way. Also, if you’re going to be drinking, make sure that you and your loved ones have a sober driver. The holidays are filled with cocktail parties and great wines, and police know that. Law enforcement agencies throughout Arizona, not just in the safety corridors, will be on the roads with a greater presence doing DUI patrols. And what if you get a ticket in one of these safety corridors going two miles over the limit? We recommend talking to your defense attorney to see if you were properly cited and whether the officer had an appropriate reason to do so.
We hope that you and your families have a safe and happy holiday season!