Interesting Arizona Traffic Stories for March, 2019
Check out some of the interesting news stories and developments affecting Arizona drivers from the past month.
Drivers could soon have more options if they are ticketed for a traffic violation.
HB 2005, introduced by Representative John Kavanagh (R-Fountain Hills), passed the AZ House Monday night, 31-29.
The bill gives drivers who are cited for some traffic violations the option to go to court, and if he or she is unsuccessful in defending their claim, the driver can then take a defensive driving course. The completion of the course could clear the points off the driver’s record and keep the ticket from impacting insurance.
Right now in Arizona, if a driver is stopped and a citation is issued, the driver must choose between going to court to dispute the citation or to defensive driving school.
According to HB 2005, if the driver went to court and was found guilty, he or she would have 45 days to take the defensive driving course. [Read more…]
People living or working in Scottsdale will want to be extra careful while driving, because more traffic cameras are on the way.
The city has decided to add four more cameras to new intersections. The newest intersections to have the technology are Scottsdale Road and Pinnacle Peak, Drank Lloyd Wright at the Greenway Hayden Loop, 92nd Street and Shea, and Indian School and Hayden.
City officials say these specific locations were chosen by traffic engineers based on speed and crash data. According to the city, since installing cameras in 1996, they've seen a 24 percent overall decrease in crashes. 35 percent of those crashes were specifically related to red light running. [Read more…]
Has your car insurance gone up? If you live in Phoenix, you are not alone. Car insurance rates went up nearly 3 percent in the past year.
Lynn Vanfossan is like a lot of Arizona drivers who just had their auto insurance premiums go up again.
"If I'm going out and getting into accidents every day, or every week then yeah - my rates should go up," she said. "But if I'm a safe driver and haven't had any accidents on my record, I think I should benefit from that."
According to The Zebra, an insurance search engine, that is an increase of 26.9 percent since 2011, with the Phoenix metro area hovering near the top.
According to insurance experts, there are several reasons Phoenix drivers pay more, including a booming population, more traffic congestion and accidents, and more distracted drivers. [Read more…]
If you are a passenger in a car pulled over in Arizona, refusing to give an officer your ID does not automatically give the officer permission to drag out the traffic stop.
The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, which oversees Arizona and several other western states, recently ruled that law enforcement cannot extend a traffic stop because a passenger refuses to give their identification, unless the officer has a reasonable suspicion the person has committed a crime.
The traffic stop in Arizona
Alfredo Landeros was sitting in the passenger seat of a car near the Pascua Yaqui Indian reservation near Tucson in 2016.
According to court documents, a Pascua Yaqui police officer pulled over the car because it was going 11 miles over the speed limit. [Read more…]
If a state lawmaker gets his way, police will no longer need an excuse to pull over a motorist who isn’t buckled up.
Existing Arizona law already requires the front-seat occupants of any vehicle to use any seat belts or lap belts installed in the vehicle.
But the only way that legislators agreed to such a mandate decades ago was by spelling out that police officers may cite violators only if they actually stopped the vehicle for some other reason.
Rep. Bob Thorpe, a Flagstaff Republican, said he has been approached by officers of the Department of Public Safety who want to be more proactive — and not for punitive motives.
“They’re not concerned about fines,” he told the House Committee on Public Safety on Wednesday. “They’re concerned about saving lives.” [Read more…]
An Arizona lawmaker wants to give all ticketed drivers the option of going to driving school, no matter if they take it to court or not.
Currently, Maricopa County's website says if you request a hearing, you give up any option of attending a defensive driving school diversion program.
State Representative John Kavanagh said it means drivers who really are innocent, but can't prove it, have to plead guilty if they want to avoid an insurance ding.
He introduced House Bill 2005.
"Allowing people who plead not guilty to a traffic violation but who are found guilty to still attend the driving school, so they don’t get the points and insurance ding is a matter of due process," said Kavanagh. [Read more…]
Drivers are seeing further signs of progress on the Loop 202 extension, designed to connect the southeast Valley to west Phoenix.
This past weekend, drivers were allowed to try out a part of the newly paved eastbound lanes, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.
ADOT said local traffic in Ahwatukee Foothills now is able to use a 2-mile stretch of new freeway, though it's reduced to one lane in each direction between Desert Foothills Parkway and 17th Avenue, while additional work continues on other lanes.
Desert Foothills Parkway is serving as the westbound on-ramp to the stretch, and 17th Avenue as the westbound Loop 202 off-ramp, ADOT said.
"This is the first of several planned shifts onto newly paved lanes that will allow Connect 202 Partners, the developer of the South Mountain Freeway, to advance construction," ADOT said in a statement. [Read more…]
The Arizona Department of Transportation is hoping a new website addressing road-safety topics will help prevent crashes and save lives.
The new website, FocusOnDriving.com, is a collection of safe-driving tips and resources. ADOT says the site, which launched in late January, has everything from video public service announcements to information about safety campaigns.
“National crash statistics show that more than 90 percent of crashes are caused by driver behavior. Our hope is that FocusOnDriving.com will help drivers become more informed, leading them to making better decisions behind the wheel,” John Halikowski, the director of ADOT, said in a statement.
While some of the topics address issues like seat-belt safety and roundabouts, there are others that could provide a quick refresher course for motorists. [Read more…]
On Jan. 8, a Scottsdale resident accidentally struck and killed a Salt River police officer while texting and driving. This incident refueled the constantly burning debate about a statewide distracted driving ban in Arizona, one of only three states without a law to prohibit all texting while driving. Two weeks after the officer’s death, state Sen. Kate Brophy McGee (R-Phoenix) introduced a bill to prohibit handheld cell phone use while driving.
Sen. McGee introduced the bill, SB 1165, at a conference while standing with the family of the slain officer, calling cell phone use while driving the “DUI issue of our time.” The bill would ban all Arizona drivers, regardless of age, from distracted driving. Sen. McGee said SB 1165 will go further than previously failed bills because hers is a sweeping ban on all handheld use, whereas other attempted bills only banned texting, which she said is difficult to prove. “This type of ordinance has already been adopted by, I think, 23 counties,” McGee said. “Law enforcement have experience with it and say we can enforce it.”
Arizona lawmakers have attempted to pass a distracted driving bill more than 10 times in the past. Former state Sen. Steve Farley (D-Tucson) introduced multiple bills since 2007, but was constantly met with resistance. [Read more…]
Imagine, you are heading down the highway and suddenly, a vehicle is headed straight towards you, driving the wrong direction in your lane, it’s the most terrifying sight you could imagine. This is known as Wrong-way Driving. Wrong-way driving is not an event that occurs very often, but because of the severity and fatality rate, it is a concern to the transportation leaders in our country. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, about 350 people die in the U.S. every year because of wrong-way driving, representing approximately 1.5 percent of the total number of traffic related fatalities that occur annually. This seems to be a small percentage overall, but wrong-way driving is notorious for its severity rather than frequency. There is a fatality in about 22 percent of all wrong-way crashes, compared to about 0.5 percent of all vehicle crashes, according to federal crash data. [Read more…]