PHOENIX - Following the deaths of two drivers in a wrong-way crash Tuesday night , Gov. Doug Ducey released a statement addressing the public safety concern that injuries and deaths have already surpassed those from previous years.
"I have instructed the Department of Transportation, the Department of Public Safety, and my Office of Highway Safety to convene immediately and increase efforts to mitigate and prevent this public safety issue," Ducey says.
Ducey says the state must do more to "seriously address" the issue.
According to his statement, Ducey has ordered planned solutions, like thermal camera detection technology, to be accelerated saying, "I want those cameras implemented as quickly as possible, and expanded to as many areas as possible where they may make a difference and save a life."
He also says enforcement and public awareness needs to be increased.
The numbers seem to back Ducey's determination and those in the Valley who feel there's been a few more wrong-way drivers this year than normal. Data from the Department of Public Safety shows wrong-way driving reports are already nearing those for both 2015 and 2016.
From the start of 2017 through May 29, according to the data, there have been a total of 694 wrong-way driver reports compared to 1,104 in 2015 (tracking began in April) and 1,729 in 2016.
Even more shocking, there have been 36 wrong-way-driver-related deaths or injuries in 2017 compared to 30 from 2016 and 16 from 2015. At least two incidences since May 29 have already added to this year's total to date.
In his statement, Ducey says he wants all of Arizona to know the state is taking this issue "extremely seriously."
"Our goal is to reduce fatalities and save lives, and we will take every appropriate measure in order to do so," Ducey said.