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Arizona officials discuss ways to prevent wrong-way wrecks

PHOENIX -- Arizona highway safety and transportation officials are trying to figure out how to curb wrong-way accidents on Arizona highways.

The third such fatal head-on accident the Phoenix area in a week killed two people early Sunday. Five other people died in two previous wrong-way wrecks.

The directors of the state Departments of Public Safety and Transportation and the Governor's Office of Highway Safety met Sunday to review the accident and to discuss strategies.

"Our director called that meeting to basically say enough is enough," DPS Officer Carrick Cook told News/Talk 92.3 KTAR's Rob & Karie on Monday. "Wrong-way drivers are a risk out there. They happen throughout the year. We can't get away from the fact that it happens, but three (crashes) in a week is unheard of."

The agencies said they're focusing on enforcement, engineering and education and that removal of impaired drivers from the highways is the Highway Patrol's top priority.

Cook said it is everyone's responsibility to ensure Arizona's roads remain safe, including paying attention while driving and not driving under the influence.

ADOT Director John Halikowski said there might not be immediate engineering changes his department can make but that it is looking at practices used elsewhere for possible adoption in Arizona.

After the crashes, some in the community called for one-way spike strips on ramps that would allow people to exit but not enter.

"That technology, as it stands right now, is not easy to implement," Cook said, adding other states have also explored that option.

The KTAR Newsroom contributed to this report.

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