DPS to crack down on traffic violations

YUMA, Ariz. – Two crashes on Arizona freeways within 16 hours of each other, both fatal. The first one happened on Interstate 10 Sunday when an SUV’s tire blew and killed 2 people.

“It’s because they weren’t wearing seatbelts. It takes you less than five seconds to put a seatbelt on,” a state trooper said on scene of another crash.

Two more victims died Monday on I-17 after a van slammed into a disabled big rig.

“When you have a combination of vehicles that are not ready for summertime driving, their tires are not ready for summertime driving and people that are not buckled up, then you see carnage, and that’s what we’ve seen here in Phoenix,” the DPS officer said.

Now, officials from Arizona’s Department Of Public Safety say they are amping up enforcement.

“This is very, kind of, a no brainer. People should automatically make sure folks are buckled up in their car, because they take responsibility for their safety when their driving them, so we’re going to cite those folks more often,” Arizona DPS spokesperson Bart Graves said.

DPS officials said state troopers will now be more likely to hand out a citation, rather than a warning. The change is in response to the alarming number of deadly wrecks so far this year. There has been a total of 144 on state highways.

“We encourage everybody not to be distracted when they’re driving and always wear your seatbelt. Those are the two primary things we’re trying to hammer down,” Graves said.

Graves said Arizona normally sees an increase in fatal crashes every summer. So far this year, the total number of those incidents is higher than it was in July of 2014.

About The Author

Eduardo Santiago joined the FOX 9 and ABC 5 news team in February, 2012. That’s the same year KECY launched its very first local newscast. He has been covering local news in Yuma and the Imperial Valley since his start as a KYMA photojournalist in 2006. During his decade in broadcasting, Eduardo has covered some of the biggest stories in the Desert Southwest – from President Bush’s visit to Yuma, Ariz. to the uncovering of drug tunnels that span the US-Mexico border. One of the most memorable stories Eduardo covered was the 2010 Easter Earthquake that rocked the Imperial Valley, Mexicali, and Yuma. Eduardo, along with his news team, won an award from the Associated Press for best coverage of an ongoing story following the quake. Before he made his move to TV, Eduardo was just a kid born in East Los Angeles, where he spent his early childhood. His parents moved him to Mexicali, B.C. Mexico, where he did most of his elementary school education. He finally landed in El Centro, where he graduated from Central Union High School in 2005. Eduardo is currently a student at Imperial Valley College. You can find Eduardo hanging out in the Imperial Valley and Yuma with his family on any given weekend. His off-screen passion is playing guitar and sports.

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