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Bruce St. James and Pamela Hughes

Updated May 19, 2014 - 8:21 am

Wrong-way crash deaths used as a political platform? It's disgraceful

Well that didn't take long.

Three wrong-way driver fatal accidents in one week have left people asking "what can be done?" Seven deaths directly attributed to people (most likely impaired) barreling toward oncoming traffic, and in each case, killing innocent people following the traffic laws.

In the wake of these tragedies, I've heard talk of devices to disable cars entering freeways in the wrong direction, technology that slows or stops vehicles if they are in the wrong lanes and better use of the overhead freeways signs. All seem like a good start and worthy of discussion

But on Sunday, when law enforcement and transportation officials got together for an emergency meeting, they predictably took this crisis as an opportunity to score political points and make it about the state's budget issues. Which brings me to this famous quote:

"To a carpenter with a hammer, every problem looks like a nail."

Roger Vanderpool, former DPS director, apparently knows how to stop cars traveling 70 mph in the wrong direction on Valley freeways. You guessed it, more money for DPS.

"We lost a lot of officers due to budget cuts over the past several years and I think getting agencies back up to strength is a huge way to deal with combating it."

This statement comes after the third wrong-way driver crash early Sunday morning when by the police's own account they had eight law enforcement vehicles attempting to stop this driver. If eight isn't enough Mr. Vanderpool, how many are? Nine? Twelve? Sixty four?

Add to it the admission by law enforcement that they don't have a protocol or system for dealing with these incidents and I fail to see what the number of officers on duty has to do with it other than more people to clean up the accident after it happens.

Unless Vanderpool is suggesting placing a DPS patrol car on every freeway off-ramp 24/7 to stop possible wrong way drivers before they enter the road, stop using the lives of these victims to argue for more funding. It's disgraceful.

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About the Author

I may not be a native, but I've been in Arizona long enough to forget what it's like back East. I moved to Tucson in the 5th grade where I graduated high school and attended the UofA. The radio bug hit me early and I was a DJ at the age of 17 in Tucson. Besides being on-air at times, my main career focus has been the behind-the-scenes programming of radio stations. I have an extensive background in music radio, in addition to working at and/or running some of the biggest and most influential radio stations in America. My radio career took me to Los Angeles, San Diego and then back to Phoenix. The chance to be back on-air, and to do it at 92.3 KTAR, was too good to pass upů so here we are! Weekends are usually reserved for racing as I own and drive my own dirt track Sprint Car all over the country. I am unmarried (never have been), childless (that I'm aware of) and don't even have any pets at this point. I do own 1 plant but the fact it has survived this long without watering leads me to believe it may be plastic. I love what I do and enjoy hosting a talk radio show for people who don't like "talk radio".


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