A weekend crash in Phoenix where a state trooper’s vehicle was struck along the shoulder of Interstate 10 has spurred transportation officials to remind drivers again that they need to slow down and exert caution when traveling in and near work zones.
The collision on Saturday, Sept. 17, occurred near I-10 and 40th Street, within the Arizona Department of Transportation’s work zone for the I-10 Broadway Curve improvement project.
At 7:22 a.m., a Department of Public Safety trooper was investigating a collision on I-10 when his patrol vehicle was rear-ended by another vehicle. The trooper was taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries as a precaution, according to DPS.
The woman who was driving the “at-fault vehicle” is being investigated for suspicion of DUI, DPS stated.
Two children from the same vehicle were taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. An adult female passenger in the vehicle suffered life-threatening injuries, authorities said.
Law enforcement reports show 61 people were killed in work zone-related crashes on local streets and highways across Arizona from 2017 to 2020, according to ADOT.
More than 850 people were killed nationwide in work zone incidents in 2020, which is the most recent year for national data.
ADOT’s I-10 Broadway Curve improvement project team released an I-10 Work Zone Safety public service announcement earlier this year.
National statistics over time have shown four out of five victims of work zone crashes were drivers or their passengers, state officials said.
Arizona work zone crash statistics from law enforcement reports over the past five years include the following:
2017: 18 fatalities, 31 serious injuries
2018: 17 fatalities, 23 serious injuries
2019: 15 fatalities, 22 serious injuries
2020: 11 fatalities, 23 serious injuries
“It’s important for drivers to slow down and pay attention when approaching and traveling through all work zones, but especially so in areas where workers aren’t able to work behind barrier walls,” ADOT officials stated in a release.
Randy Everett, ADOT’s central district administrator, emphasized the need for drivers to stay alert and not speed in work zones during National Work Zone Awareness Week in April.
“We have flashing lights, signs and other safety equipment, but often the biggest factor is whether a driver is impaired, speeding or distracted in some way,” Everett said.
“If you’re entering a work zone, your first instinct should be to slow down.”