I-19 enforcement to increase

Posted: Updated:

TUCSON, Ariz. -- It's a stretch of highway that lately, has seen more than its fair share of deadly accidents.

Now the Department of Public Safety is sending more officers to Interstate 19.

By this time last year, three people died in accidents on I-19.  So far this year, there have been eight deaths.

"We've got a big increase in the population south of Tucson on the I-19, Sahuarita, Tubac, and Nogales.  A lot of these people are traveling back and forth from these locations up in the Tucson area and back south," said Sgt. Charlie Serino from the Department of Public Safety.

Sgt. Serino says more traffic means more chances of accidents.  "Vehicle condition, speed, weather conditions, especially now with our monsoon season."

The agency has launched "Operation Guardian Angel" to put more eyes on the road.

Typically only three officers patrol the more than 60 miles of the I-19, now DPS is going to double those patrols.  Which is good news for south-side motorists who have some pet peeves when it comes to driving on the interstate.

"Too many passing lane huggers you know those people who stay in the passing lane and never move over," said motorist Robert Rivera.

"I've seen people cutting other people, don't use their blinkers, a lot of people speeding," said motorist Erica Ahumede.

Some drivers feel the I-19 could use more officers.

"When I do use that freeway, I see maybe one or two," said Rivera.

"There's people who will stop and see an officer and slow down , reduce their speed," said Ahumede.

Officers warn motorists, be safe or be cited.

"We're going to have that other officer out there to continue that subconscious mind thinking hey I need to monitor my speed or else they're going to stop me," said Serino.

DPS says people who get pulled over can expect officers to inspect their vehicle for potential hazards, especially since summer heat can lead to blown out tires.