Monsoon keeps DPS busy keeping stranded motorists safe

Published: Jul. 18, 2017 at 9:49 AM MST|Updated: Mar. 2, 2018 at 11:20 AM MST
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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Every year, monsoon rains leave drivers stranded on the side of the highway.

Officials with the Department of Public Safety know the heavy rain, strong gusts and dust storms are potentially deadly this time of year.

Every year, people die on Interstate 10 because of monsoon storms.

Frank Cuen is Tucson DPS's only full-time Motorist Assist employee, and he says monsoon is the most dangerous and busiest time of the year.

On average, he helps around 10 drivers a day during monsoon.

Cuen's job is to slow down traffic when it gets too dangerous to drive, and to calm stranded drivers when they get caught in storms.

"When it rains here, it rains. I mean, there is a lot of wind, probably a lot of damage on the highway, a lot of debris. I've been in it when the skies are so dark that the visibility is zero, and that is something that we take very seriously; notifying the public. 'Hey, you need to slow down or either pull to the right to make sure it stops raining,'" he said.

His office is on the side of the freeway, with cars speeding by at 65 miles per hour.

"This is a pretty big truck and this truck is pretty heavy so I have to constantly be watching both sides of the highway to make sure that I don't endanger other people."

Cuen is reminding drivers to be extra cautious in July. If you see his truck with flashing yellow arrows turned on, prepare to move over or slow down.

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