Sunday's deadly accident is not the first at the end of the long hill that descends into Slate Creek, and without some changes in the way people drive, it probably will not be the last.
At least two other tanker trucks have crashed at this same location, which comes at the end of a steep descent and after a series of left and then right curves. Countless others -- drivers of cars and SUVs and trucks hauling trailers -- no doubt, have had problems with the twisty roadway. We had a trucker call us to complain about the speeding and erratic driving habits of SUV and passenger car drivers and some other truck drivers. He said vehicles constantly pass his truck, cut in front of him and do other crazy things that leave him scratching his head.
Several residents have also reported recently that they get passed like they are standing still, if they stay within the speed limit on the Beeline.
This is not a roadway where it is prudent to speed or to not pay close attention. This roadway demands full attention or a price will be paid.
The speed limit posted at the top the hill, well before the steep grade starts, tells drivers to slow down to 55 mph from their current 65 mph.
In the case of the two most recent accidents, investigators tell us that it was the truck driver's first trip down the roadway and that they were probably unfamiliar with it.
No official reason has been released for this latest accident, which closed the road for hours on Sunday, but for some reason, the driver lost control of the truck with terrible results.
Excessive speed or inattentive driving has caused other accidents on the roadway.
Some of these speeding vehicles are large SUVs pulling an RV or a boat -- with boat or RV fishtailing behind the tow car. SUVs are not sports cars, they might seem like they handle a road well, but they do not have the same road-handling ability of a car.
We would encourage all drivers who use this roadway to slow down, take it easy, give yourself and other drivers a large margin of error. Speeding down a twisting, winding road provides a driver with no safety margin.
We would also like to see an emergency ramp constructed for runaway trucks, similar to the one on Interstate 17 that ADOT has put in for trucks coming off the Rim.
This stretch of Highway 87 is obviously a problem for some drivers. Providing trucks with a margin for error might go a long way to helping prevent future accidents. Encouraging everyone to slow down and take the roadway signs seriously is another way of getting to your destination safely.