How we looked at safety devices in explaining the 2015 Crash Facts report

By Steve Elliott / ADOT Communications

Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts 2015

In reporting last week that motor vehicle crashes on Arizona's local roads and highways claimed 895 lives in 2015, 121 more than the year before, ADOT highlighted three numbers from the latest Motor Vehicle Crash Facts annual report:

  • 313 of those killed weren’t using a seat belt, child safety device or helmet.
  • 300 of those killed were involved in crashes related to exceeding the speed limit or driving too fast for conditions.
  • 295 of those killed were involved in alcohol-related crashes.

This was in no way ranking one area against another, and we took care to note that more than one of these areas could be a factor in a particular fatal crash.

We broke out these numbers in this way because each area shows how making better decisions can save lives.

You may wonder why we grouped the use of seat belts, child safety devices and helmets rather than considering helmets and vehicle restraints separately. After all, isn't riding a motorcycle very different from operating a vehicle with four wheels?

First, here's where the 313 comes from:

For motor vehicles, 195 fatalities involved drivers not wearing seat belts and 57 involved passengers who didn't use seat belts or weren't in child restraints. For motorcycles, 59 operators who were killed weren't wearing helmets and two passengers who were killed weren't wearing helmets.

The reason we considered restraints and helmets together lies in the Crash Facts report, which, among other ways of looking at the data, lists whether those killed or injured were "not using a safety device." That encompasses seat belts, child restraints and helmets.

In presenting the information this way, we're calling attention to the importance of safety devices regardless of how a person gets around. While you can't control decisions other drivers make, such as drinking and driving, using a safety device appropriate to the vehicle you are operating – or one you are riding in or on – can save your life.

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