Traffic fatalities on Arizona’s roads and state highways climbed higher for the second straight year. Per ADOT, driver behavior continues to be a leading factor in motor vehicle collisions.
In 2016, 962 people were killed in motor vehicle crashes, 65 more than the year before, representing a 7.3 percent increase. The number of collisions also went up, rising 8.6 percent to 126,845. The increases in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities in Arizona follow national trends.
The Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report is a compilation of traffic crash reports provided to ADOT by law enforcement agencies around the state. A glance at the report reveals how better decisions made by motorists can save lives. Seat belts, speeding and reckless driving, and impairment are among the leading factors in traffic fatalities:
- Buckle up – 250 of those killed last year weren’t using a seat belt.
- Pay attention and obey speed limits – Speeding too fast for conditions is the most common driver violation and rear end is the most common manner of collision.
- Don’t drive impaired – Annually, impaired driving crashes account for about 4 percent of all collisions and one-third of fatal collisions. Crashes involving impairment related to alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medication killed 406 people and injured 4,089 in 2016.
Too many people make the deadly decision to drive impaired, whether by alcohol, prescription pills or other drugs and put all of us at risk. None of us should accept this selfish behavior and it’s everyone's business to stop impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel.
For the second year in a row, 406 people were killed in impaired driving-related collisions. However, alcohol-related fatalities decreased – falling from 329 people killed in 2015 to 307 in 2016 – while fatalities related to illegal drugs or prescription medication increased – rising from 77 in 2015 to 99 people killed in 2016. The gains made in reducing alcohol-related crashes and fatalities are steps in the right direction, but there is still much work to be done.
Impaired drivers continue to take the lives of our loved ones and it is time for the community to spread the message that impaired driving is unacceptable. Friends and family members must make every effort to take the keys away from impaired individuals or to call 911 for help when intervening.
Pedestrian-involved crashes and fatalities spiked in 2016. The number of pedestrians killed rose to 197 in 2016 from 163 the year before and crashes increased by 16 percent, from 1,408 in 2015 to 1,637 last year.
The number of motorcycle operators and passengers killed in traffic crashes went up in 2016 to 144 from 134 the year before.
Here are other figures from the 2016 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report:
- 574 fatal crashes occurred on other roadways, such as county roads or city streets, and 291 fatal crashes occurred on the state highway system.
- 525 fatalities occurred in urban areas and 437 deaths occurred in rural areas.
- Of all alcohol-related crashes, 78.8 percent occurred in urban areas and 21.2 percent in rural areas.
- Among fatal crashes related to alcohol, 67 percent occurred in urban areas and 33 percent occurred in rural areas.
- One person was killed in a motor vehicle crash every 9.11 hours.
- Seven in 10 crashes occurred during daylight hours.
- More crashes occurred in March than any other month with 11,391.
- Friday was the peak day of the week for all crashes during 2016 with 22,133, while the most fatal crashes – 150 – occurred on Saturdays.
While we agree that driver behavior is the #1 causes of crashes on Arizona’s roadways, it is not the only factor.
There are many roads and highways in Arizona that are simply not safe. Crashes continue to occur, injuries and fatalities are on the rise and for some of these dangerous roads, ADOT does nothing.
We ALL need to work together to make our roads safe, but a paramount responsibility is on the State agency whose job it is to keep the roads and highways safe.
In the past few years, many lawsuits have been filed and won against our State agency for their negligence in maintaining the highways.
Drivers certainly need to be more responsible, and each and every driver can control this circumstance.
It is time for ADOT to quit blaming drivers for all of the crashes.
Step up and do what you know needs to be done to make our roads safer!