New AZ DPS director focuses on wrong-way drivers

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New DPS Director Frank Milstead (Source: CBS 5 News) New DPS Director Frank Milstead (Source: CBS 5 News)
The new director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety says battling wrong-way drivers is a priority.
 
Mary Ann Mendoza knows all too well how the problem hits home. She can sum up the past 10 months in one word.
 
“Hell,” said Mary Ann Mendoza.
 
Mary Ann Mendoza's son Brandon Mendoza was killed by a wrong-way driver back in May, 2014.
 
The 32-year-old Mesa police officer was on his way home from work when he crashed head-on into the driver on a Valley freeway.
 
“Brandon was a big part of our lives so there's a huge hole in my family,” said Mary Ann Mendoza.
 
“It affects every community.  It's not just an Arizona problem,” said new DPS Director Frank Milstead. “It's a problem that exists anywhere where there's roadways and automobiles.”
 
Milstead says there's no speedy solution, and says putting more officers on the roads isn't the answer.
 
“When you have a vehicle traveling at speeds the wrong direction on a freeway nothing good is going to come of that and having a bunch of law enforcement down on the freeway is just going to get more people hurt,” said Milstead.
 
Rather, Milstead says state agencies are looking at education, enforcement, engineering, and possibly new legislation.
 
“I think anybody that has had an impairment moment needs to go back and have that medical evaluation before they are reissued a new license,” said Milstead.
 
That wouldn't have helped Brandon Mendoza.
 
The wrong-way driver who hit him was in the country illegally and didn't have a license.
 
Mary Ann Mendoza recommends sensors that detect wrong-way drivers and alert law enforcement.
 
“Why don't you spend the money and fix the problem and get sensors on the freeways. Do something pro-active. Something is better than nothing,” said Mary Ann Mendoza.

A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Transportation says they are field testing sensors as a possible solution.
 
The spokesperson says ADOT is researching what is being done across the country and expect the study to be completed this summer. 
 
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