ADOT plans to install wrong-way driver detection system, following numerous incidents

- Authorities say a man is dead after a wrong-way car crashed into a commercial truck and fell off a Phoenix freeway.

The Arizona Department of Public Safety says the wrong-way driver, identified as 26-year-old Jose Manuel Lopez, was traveling southbound in the northbound lanes of Interstate 17 at 2:45 a.m. on Thursday when the car hit the truck head-on and fell off I-10 and landed on the northbound I-17 ramp.

Impairment has not been ruled out as a factor in the crash.

>>VIDEO from the scene:

The wrong-way driver was pronounced dead at the scene.

The driver of the commercial truck was not injured.

Northbound I-17 has reopened from the I-10 Stack to McDowell Road.

Solutions for wrong-way driving

So far, there have been 36 wrong-way driver arrests this year, which equals to an average of about one arrest a week.

"Phoenix, I think, is the worst for wrong way drivers," said one person. Others say more needs to be done to prevent wrong-way drivers. Some say better signing may be needed, while others have called for stop strips to be installed.

ADOT officials, however, say they are not considering Spike Strips, following decades of research. They said spikes aren't guaranteed to blow tires, would have to be visually monitored and maintained at all times, and would prevent emergency vehicles from responding to scenes.

ADOT officials, however, said they are actively designing a first-in-the-nation wrong-way detection system that would use thermal camera technology to detect such drivers. There are plans to install the pilot system in the fall.

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