PHOENIX -- We've all been there: stuck on the freeway, sitting in traffic for hours, often due to an accident up ahead.
But although it can be frustrating, there are many reasons officers have to shut down a freeway or restrict traffic following a crash.
DPS Officer Carrick Cook told Good Morning Arizona's Gina Maravilla that a crash investigation can take an especially long time if a fatality is involved. He says they owe it to the victim's family to do it right.
"When you think that somebody died, it's a death investigation," Officer Cook tells us. "It's very important to that family, it's very important to anybody involved in that crash. Those who lost a loved one, even in a car crash, want answers, and what happened and what led up to the death of that family member. So that takes a lot of time."
Cook says following a fatal crash, DPS must coordinate with the medical examiner and the fire department as they all work together to investigate the scene.
Clean-up can be another reason for a big freeway delay. Recently trucks carrying mulch and coffee creamers overturned on the Valley freeways, leaving behind huge messes.
"I call it the coffee cream disaster of 2013," Cook says. "That was 80,000 pounds of coffee creamer. That, in and of itself, is a difficult clean-up task. Then you also have to look at mulch. That's a big task as well."
But Officer Cook says agencies are hard at work behind the scenes to facilitate the flow of traffic and find answers to congestion. "Arizona has implemented traffic incident management. We have a coalition between ADOT, DPS and some of the towing companies."