Traffic fatalities in Arizona rose for the second straight year, and the leading factor is driver behavior including speeding, impairment, and lack of seat belt use.
The Arizona Department of Transportation's annual Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report says 962 were killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, 65 more than 2015. The number of collisions also rose by 8.6 percent to 186,845.
The increases in Arizona follow national trends.
The report specifies how many fatalities occurred because of lack of seat belt and impairment. Here are the numbers:
- 250- people died in 2016 because they weren't wearing a seat belt.
- 406- people died in 2016 because they were in a crash involving impairment related to alcohol, illegal drugs or prescription medication. The same reason injured 4,089 people.
“Making travel safer begins before drivers turn the ignition,” ADOT Director, John Halikowski said, “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.”
Alcohol-related fatalities alone decreased in 2016, falling from 329 in 2015 to 307 in 2016, but fatalities related to illegal drugs or prescription medication increased from 77 in 2015 to 99 people 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,” said Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, “Driving impaired is a choice and people need to be aware that it’s a choice they don’t have to make – there are many other ways to get home safely.”
The highest annual number of motor vehicle crash fatalities in Arizona was 1,301 in 2006. Fatalities have risen in recent year, they are lower than they were a decade ago. This is despite having one million more drivers and vehicles traveling today than there were in 2007.
Pedestrian-involved crashes also rose by 16 percent in 2016, killing 197. Motorcycle fatalities rose from 134 in 2015 to 144 in 2016.
“Impaired drivers continue to take the lives of our love ones and it is time for the community to spread the message that impaired driving is unacceptable,” said Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, “I call on every driver to call 911 if impaired driving is suspected. Friends and family members must make every effort to take the keys away from impaired individuals or to call 911 for help when intervening.”
Here are more numbers from the 2016 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report:
- 574 fatal crashes happened on roadways, such as county roads or city streets.
- 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 of fatal crashes related to alcohol 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.
- The most fatal crashes – 150 – occurred on Saturdays.
To see the full ADOT 2016 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts Report click here.