New for Monsoon 2020: When dust kicks up, speed limit goes down

By Garin Groff / ADOT Communications

We all know what to expect when the monsoon whips up dust storms that race across the desert between Tucson and Phoenix: strong winds, limited visibility and hazardous driving conditions.

But drivers on that stretch of Interstate 10 should expect something very different this summer when storms hit: reduced speed limits, speed feedback signs and new overhead boards that display urgent safety messages.

These features are now working together as part of ADOT’s dust detection and warning system, which became operational just in time for the 2020 monsoon season that officially began June 15. This video shows you how this first-of-its-kind system works on a 10-mile segment of I-10 between Eloy and Picacho Peak, along with what drivers will see when dust storms automatically activate the system.

This system was developed by ADOT to improve safety during dust storms. But it only works if drivers heed the warnings. So make sure to pay extra attention to the safety messages on overhead signs and to obey the reduced speed limits, which are enforceable. Speed limits can drop to as low as 35 miles per hour, depending on real-time conditions in the area.

You can read more about the dust detection and warning system on our website.

Please remember that this technology is no substitute for common sense. Wherever you are traveling, be sure you've reviewed our dust storm safety tips at PullAsideStayAlive.org