Safety

Gaming and driving don't mix

Gaming and driving don't mix

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Gaming and driving don't mix

Gaming and driving don't mix

July 13, 2016

Highway Sign: Pokemon Go is a No-Go when Driving.

By Caroline Carpenter / ADOT Communications

You’ve heard you shouldn’t drink and drive, but now we’re telling you not to “catch and drive.” Pokémon Go, the latest gaming craze, has people of all ages on the hunt for Pikachu and other Pokémon characters.

When the virtual world meets the real world, you need to remember to be street smart. That means, don’t drive while playing Pokémon Go. ADOT has teamed up with the Arizona Department of Public Safety to remind drivers to game safely and avoid distracted driving.

We’re getting the message out using overhead highway signs like the one pictured above and sharing the message on social media. We hope you’ll also share the message with your fans and followers.

We also appreciate the media helping spread the word that Pokemon and driving don’t go together.

Distracted driving is a serious problem across the nation and contributed to 33 deaths on Arizona’s roads last year. In 2015, it was also a factor in nearly 8,000 crashes in our state.

Two road workers hit and killed this month on state highways

Two road workers hit and killed this month on state highways

I-17 101 traffic interchange

Two road workers hit and killed this month on state highways

Two road workers hit and killed this month on state highways

June 14, 2016

PHOENIX – In the past 10 days, two people working on state highways have been hit and killed by vehicles. These unnecessary and avoidable tragedies illustrate the need for drivers to pay attention in work zones and to give a safe margin of space to vehicles with flashing lights, such as tow trucks and emergency responders.

To remind drivers of the importance of paying attention to their surroundings, ADOT will display the following message this week on overhead signs statewide:

 

2 ROAD WORKERS
KILLED THIS MONTH
DRIVE ALERT

 

When traveling in work zones, drivers should expect the unexpected, as normal speed limits may be reduced and people may be working in the road. They also should slow down, keep a safe distance from the vehicle ahead and pay attention. Minimizing distractions could save a life.

Not only is it a safe practice to give space to emergency response vehicles, such as ambulances, fire trucks, tow trucks and highway maintenance vehicles, it’s also the law. Arizona’s “Move Over” law requires motorists to move over one lane – or slow down if it is not safe to change lanes – when driving by any vehicle with flashing lights pulled to the side of the roadway.

Early Monday morning, a passenger car struck and killed an employee of a contractor working on an ADOT project as he removed barricades from Loop 101 Pima Freeway in Scottsdale. Earlier this month, a box truck hit and killed a tow company driver responding to a stalled vehicle on Interstate 10 near Benson.

Alcohol-fueled crashes involving young drivers spike in May

Alcohol-fueled crashes involving young drivers spike in May

I-17 101 traffic interchange

Alcohol-fueled crashes involving young drivers spike in May

Alcohol-fueled crashes involving young drivers spike in May

May 12, 2016

PHOENIX – Don’t let a mortarboard be the last hat your young driver wears.

If historical trends hold, the square covers tossed in the air at commencement ceremonies could be the last caps worn by some recent graduates.

That’s because alcohol-related crashes involving drivers ages 16-24 spike in May, making it one of the most dangerous months for young drivers. Since 2010, during the month of May there have been 50 alcohol-related fatal crashes involving young drivers on Arizona roadways, according to data collected by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Everyone with a diploma knows the solution: don’t drink and drive. Designate a driver. Call a cab or rideshare service. Besides being life-threatening to drivers, passengers and innocents that share the road, a DUI is a terrible graduation gift.

In an effort to discourage drinking and driving among young drivers – and as a reminder to drivers of all ages – many of ADOT’s overhead signs throughout Arizona will display the following message this weekend:

GRADUATES:
SHOW YOUR SMARTS
DRIVE SOBER

Crashes of all kinds involving young drivers typically peak in October and November. But the largest totals of alcohol-related crashes involving young drivers are in March and May. Many variables contribute to this, but spring break and end-of-the-school-year celebrations are obvious factors. Impaired driving crashes involving young drivers occur at higher-than-average rates during the months of June and July, too.

Many steps already taken on wrong-way driving, but more to come

Many steps already taken on wrong-way driving, but more to come

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Many steps already taken on wrong-way driving, but more to come

Many steps already taken on wrong-way driving, but more to come

April 26, 2016

By Gant Wegner / ADOT Communications

Wrong-way driving.

No issue has prompted more people to contact ADOT over the past year. We have received hundreds of emails, calls and letters expressing concern that some drivers – almost always impaired by alcohol or drugs – are able to drive onto a freeway going in the wrong direction.

People are outraged that innocent motorists driving in the right direction are injured or killed in crashes with vehicles going the wrong way. We are too.

Those who reach out often ask what ADOT is going to do to stop wrong-way drivers.

We answer that ADOT has taken significant steps to address wrong-way driving and continues to seek ways to reduce the threat. Safety is our top priority in everything we do.

Our crews have installed larger and lowered "Wrong Way" and "Do Not Enter" signs in better view of drivers at dozens of highway ramps. We have added attention-getting wrong-way pavement arrows outlined by bright red reflectors on freeway ramps. We are testing wrong-way vehicle sensor technology that could be used to alert motorists, state troopers and other emergency responders to a driver going the wrong way.

Many of those contacting ADOT say we should install tire spike strips to blow the tires of wrong-way vehicles. You’ve probably heard the loud clank as you’ve driven over these spring-loaded spike strips at rental car parking lots and other places where vehicles are prevented from driving in or out for security reasons.

As enticing as that idea seems, there is no place in the world where spikes are used on highway systems. Other states have studied the possibility and determined that spikes wouldn't work, including a detailed engineering analysis by the Texas Department of Transportation that found:

  • Spikes are designed for slow speeds/low-volume traffic and are not guaranteed to damage the tires of vehicles traveling at higher speeds.
  • Broken spikes can damage tires of vehicles traveling in the right direction.
  • Right-way drivers can create unsafe situations by slowing down quickly for spike strips.
  • Spikes can be a hazard to motorcycles and small cars.
  • Spike strips are slippery when wet and prone to getting clogged with dirt and snow.

ADOT appreciates all the feedback we have received on wrong-way drivers. This kind of engagement is what we want to have with you, our fellow motorists.

Safety engineering can only do so much. Most cases of wrong-way driving are a direct result of impaired driving, and to truly address the danger everyone must focus on making better decisions before getting behind the wheel.

Message during Distracted Driving Month is ‘Just Drive’

Message during Distracted Driving Month is ‘Just Drive’

I-17 101 traffic interchange

Message during Distracted Driving Month is ‘Just Drive’

Message during Distracted Driving Month is ‘Just Drive’

April 19, 2016

PHOENIX – Drive. Just drive.

That’s the message the Arizona Department of Transportation is sending to those behind the wheel during National Distracted Driving Month.

Distracted driving kills thousands and injures hundreds of thousands in the United States each year. In 2015, at least 36 people were killed on Arizona roadways because of distracted driving. Those numbers are too high. Bringing them down is simple.

Just drive.

Keep your eyes on the road, hands on the wheel and mind engaged with driving. After all, your life is in your hands, so keep them free of distractions.

“Think about the last time you shook you head in wonder about a distracted driver killing or maiming innocent people because of the driver’s crazy-stupid behavior,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “Please don’t be one of those people standing in front of the judge, facing prison and apologizing to a broken family about how you wish you could take it all back. Just drive and be part of the solution to bring the fatality numbers down.”

Distracted driving comes in many forms: eating a fast-food burger, applying mascara, smartphone use, toggling through a navigation system, twisting your neck toward the backseat to break up a sibling squabble and more. Yet, none of these activities are a driver’s primary responsibility as the operator of a one-ton, two-ton or heavier vehicle and each distraction makes a driver up to four times more likely to be involved in a crash, according to research cited by the Federal Highway Administration.

Just drive.

In 2015, nearly 8,000 distracted drivers were involved in crashes on Arizona roadways, according to preliminary data collected by ADOT. The data shows that young drivers (ages 16-24) engage in distracted driving at higher rates than older drivers, accounting for a third of all drivers engaging in distracting behavior that caused a crash.

Those startling and unnecessarily high numbers tell us one thing.

Drive. Just drive.

Keep safety in mind with wind and possible snow in forecast

Keep safety in mind with wind and possible snow in forecast

I-17 101 traffic interchange

Keep safety in mind with wind and possible snow in forecast

Keep safety in mind with wind and possible snow in forecast

April 15, 2016

PHOENIX ‒ With the weekend forecast calling for gusty winds along with the possibility of snow in higher elevations, motorists should be on alert for adverse weather including blowing dust and limited visibility, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

Even though monsoon season hasn’t started, blowing dust is possible throughout the year. ADOT’s safety tips for blowing dust, available at PullAsideStayAlive.org, include:

  • Avoid driving into or through a dust storm.
  • If you encounter a dust storm, check traffic immediately around your vehicle and begin slowing down.
  • Pull off the roadway as soon as possible; don’t wait until poor visibility makes it difficult to do so safely.
  • Completely exit the highway if possible, away from where other vehicles may travel; don’t stop in a travel lane or in the emergency lane.
  • Turn off all vehicle lights, including emergency flashers.
  • Set the emergency brake and take your foot off the brake.
  • Stay in the vehicle with seat belts buckled and wait for the storm to pass.

Along with wind gusts and dust, drivers may encounter snow and icy roads in the high country, especially above 6,500 feet from Flagstaff through the Mogollon Rim. Motorists in these areas should leave prepared for winter conditions and pack an emergency road kit, including essential items such as a fully charged cellphone, food and water, and warmer clothes. For more winter driving tips, visit azdot.gov/KnowSnow.

For the most current information about highway conditions, closures and restrictions statewide, visit ADOT’s Travel Information Site at az511.gov or call 511. ADOT’s Twitter account (@ArizonaDOT) is another excellent resource.

When it comes to driving in work zones, ‘The Vest Knows Best’

When it comes to driving in work zones, ‘The Vest Knows Best’

I-17 101 traffic interchange

When it comes to driving in work zones, ‘The Vest Knows Best’

When it comes to driving in work zones, ‘The Vest Knows Best’

April 11, 2016

PHOENIX – Flashing orange lights. Bright orange traffic cones. Striped barrels and barricades.

You’re entering a work zone.

What coincidental timing, too, because the Arizona Department of Transportation is marking the beginning of National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 11-15) today.

After slowing and merging near the start of the work zone, there’s the flagger with a stop/slow paddle and a fluorescent reflective vest strapped across his chest. Expertly moving traffic safely through the work zone all day, obey this person’s instructions – as ADOT’s work zone safety message declares, “The Vest Knows Best” – because lives, including yours, depend on it.

Up ahead, see that maintenance crew? The highway is their office, so please slow down and focus on the road. This ensures a safe work space for them and keeps you safe, too. That’s especially important because, statistically, motorists are far more likely to die in a work zone crash.

According to the Federal Highway Administration, drivers and passengers accounted for 82 percent of work zone fatalities nationally in 2014, the most recent year with complete data. In Arizona, the number of work zone deaths fell to 11 in 2014 after peaking at 17 in 2013. Despite this decrease in work zone fatalities, there is room for improvement

To achieve that, in conjunction with National Work Zone Awareness Week, ADOT is launching a work zone safety campaign, “The Vest Knows Best,” to protect motorists and those who build and maintain Arizona’s highways. Follow these tips when traveling through a work zone to keep everyone safe.

  • Pay attention: Observe and obey posted warning signs, as well as flaggers. You can be cited for disobeying a flagger’s directions.
  • Expect the unexpected: Speed limits might be lowered, travel lanes could be narrowed or eliminated and people may be working near your travel lane.
  • Slow down: Speeding is one of the leading causes of work zone crashes.
  • Merge safely: Do it early and carefully or as directed by signage instead of barging into a line of vehicles at the last moment.
  • Don’t tailgate: The most common crash in a work zone is the rear-end collision. Don’t follow too closely and, again, slow your speed.

For more information about work zone safety, visit azdot.gov/workzone.

ADOT Safety Calendar helps promote safe working culture

ADOT Safety Calendar helps promote safe working culture

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ADOT Safety Calendar helps promote safe working culture

ADOT Safety Calendar helps promote safe working culture

January 26, 2016

You know that ADOT is all about transportation safety. From work zone safety and weather-related travel tips to Pull Aside and Move Over, we try to make sure motorists have all the tools they need to stay safe on the road…

What you might not know is that ADOT also promotes transportation safety to its employees (just working here doesn’t automatically make you an expert – we all need safety reminders once in a while!).

One way we do that is through the annual ADOT Safety Calendar.

Produced since 2003, the calendar features original artwork submitted by child relatives of ADOT employees. The drawings focus on different safety messages, including distracted driving, seat belt safety and wrong-way drivers.

ADOT recently celebrated this year’s artists with a fun ceremony. Our video team asked them to elaborate on their safety messages. We’ll be sharing the videos throughout the year on Facebook and hope you enjoy seeing how important safety is through the eyes of children. We hope their messages will remind us all to slow down and pay attention to what we are doing on the road.

Tips for a happy and safe holiday travel season

Tips for a happy and safe holiday travel season

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Tips for a happy and safe holiday travel season

Tips for a happy and safe holiday travel season

December 23, 2015

Drivers need to plan ahead if their travels could include snow or ice. Useful tips can be found on our Know Snow page.

The holiday travel season is officially here and it’s sure to be a busy one.

According to AAA, the number of holiday travelers nationwide is expected to top 100 million for the first time ever and guess what? Most of them will be driving.

Here at ADOT, we know that now is the time when many people take to the road to visit family and friends. That’s why we offer up a number of resources to help you plan your trip and make it safe…

Know Snow: Drivers need to plan ahead if their travels could include snow or ice. Our Know Snow page contains a lot of good information, including safety recommendations and tips to prepare your vehicle for a trip up north.

az511: Before heading out on the road, you’ll want to visit ADOT’s Traveler Information Center at az511.gov. The site provides the latest highway conditions around the state and features real-time images along highways that provide a glimpse of weather conditions in various regions. You can also call 511 – outside of Arizona dial 1-888-411-ROAD (7623) – for updates on highway conditions.

Twitter: For updates nearly round the clock (4 a.m. to midnight) directly from ADOT’s Traffic Operations Center, ADOT's Twitter feed is the one to follow @ArizonaDOT.

ServiceArizona: All ADOT and MVD offices will be closed in recognition of the holidays on Dec. 25 and Jan. 1, but you can always visit ServiceArizona.com to complete a number of MVD transactions online.

Finally, we encourage you to plan ahead, allow extra travel time, avoid distractions and be patient when traveling during the holidays. Please obey speed limits, buckle up and never drive while impaired. Here are some additional driving tips to help make sure you and your family have a happy and safe holiday season:

  • Get a good night’s rest before heading out on a trip.
  • Check your vehicle, including tire pressure, fluid levels and the condition of engine belts.
  • Buckle up and double-check child safety seats.
  • Never drive while impaired. Arrange for a designated driver ahead of time.
  • Obey speed limits, be patient and avoid distractions. Don’t text while driving.
  • Have an emergency preparedness kit that includes extra clothes, blankets, flashlights, snack foods and drinking water.

“The Force Awakens” - even Jedi need sleep before driving

“The Force Awakens” - even Jedi need sleep before driving

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“The Force Awakens” - even Jedi need sleep before driving

“The Force Awakens” - even Jedi need sleep before driving

Title of newest Star Wars film gives ADOT an excuse to tout dangers of drowsy driving
December 16, 2015

"Join me and I will complete your training. With our combined strength we can end the destructiveness of drowsy driving."

By Doug Pacey
ADOT Office of Public Information

Unless you live in a galaxy far, far away, you’re probably aware that movies theaters on Earth will soon begin showing “Star Wars: Episode 7 – The Force Awakens.” Count the Arizona Department of Transportation among those thrilled that the Force is no longer slumbering, as we can capitalize on a pop culture phenomenon to slip in a message about the dangers of drowsy driving.

Seriously, do you think Han Solo and the Millennium Falcon could have made the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs if he’d been asleep at the controls?

Not on Yoda’s life.

All right, everything you just read might be as ridiculous as Jar Jar Binks, but drowsy driving is no joke. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, driver fatigue was the direct cause of about 72,000 crashes, including 800 fatalities and 44,000 injuries, in 2013. However, it’s known that drowsy driving is under-reported and could contribute to as many as 6,000 fatal crashes each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

To us, that couldn’t be more startling than if you (SPOILER ALERT!) learned your arch-enemy is also your father.

Drowsy driving can affect anyone – droids excluded – but is more common among teens, college students and young adults, shift workers, commercial drivers and drivers with untreated sleep disorders. To combat driver fatigue, make sleep a priority. Most adults need at least seven hours of sleep per night, while teens and young adults require a least eight hours. If you skimp on sleep, “sleep debt” will accumulate and you don’t want to be behind the wheel – or on a mission to destroy the Death Star – when it’s time to pay up.

Warning signs of drowsy driving, according to the National Sleep Foundation, include:

  • Difficulty focusing, frequent blinking, heavy eyelids.
  • Yawning repeatedly or rubbing eyes.
  • Daydreaming, wandering or disconnecting thoughts.
  • Missing exits or traffic signs.
  • Drifting from your lane, tailgating, hitting the rumble strip.

If you notice those symptoms, try doing this:

  • Change drivers.
  • Consume caffeine to increase alertness, but know that it can take about 30 minutes to enter the bloodstream.
  • Pull over and take a 15-20 minute nap and recharge or find a place to sleep for the night.

Remember, even Jedi require a good night’s rest. Do it you must. There is no try.