ADOT updates Arizona’s strategic plan to enhance roadway safety

More than 300 statewide stakeholders participated; public can now view the plan online

PHOENIX — Public safety remains the top priority for the Arizona Department of Transportation, which is responsible for managing a complex roadway system with more than 7,000 miles of state highways. With that responsibility, it’s paramount that ADOT partner with other state and local agencies to compile a comprehensive transportation plan that addresses Arizona’s safety challenges and offers feasible solutions for everyone who travels in Arizona by car, truck, motorcycle, bicycle, transit or foot.

Beginning in late 2012, ADOT led an effort to revise the Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which is a data-driven, multiyear, wide-ranging plan that establishes statewide goals, objectives and key emphasis areas, and integrates the four E’s of highway safety — engineering, education, enforcement and emergency medical services. The safety plan allows highway safety programs and partners in the state to work together in an effort to align goals, leverage resources and collectively address the state’s highway safety issues.

More than 300 stakeholders statewide, representing 87 different federal, state, local, tribal, nonprofit and private-sector groups, participated in the 2014 Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Plan, which is now available for the first time online at azdot.gov/shsp.

The 2014 Arizona Strategic Highway Safety Plan identifies and establishes priorities for the state’s top transportation safety issues.

In the updated plan, there are 12 safety emphasis areas including speeding and aggressive driving, impaired driving, occupant protection (seatbelts, child safety seats), motorcycle safety, distracted driving, roadway infrastructure improvements (intersections, lane departures), age-related driving, heavy vehicle/transit/bus safety, non-motorized users (bicyclists, pedestrians), natural risks (weather, animals), traffic incident management (secondary collisions, work zones) and cross-jurisdictional issues.

The safety plan outlines a clear set of actions and proposed strategies to be taken over the next five years to reduce motor vehicle and pedestrian-involved crashes, and save lives on roadways.

"We have a goal for Arizona's Highways: zero deaths,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski.  “The most important reason to have a strategic highway safety plan is to provide a dynamic roadmap to reach that goal.”

Development of the 2014 plan was achieved through a shared vision on roadway safety. “Without the support of the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, the Arizona Department of Public Safety, the Arizona Department of Health Services, our federal partners and the hundreds of participating stakeholders across our state, this plan would not be possible,” said State Traffic Engineer Maysa Hanna.

Arizona developed its first safety plan in 2007, and since then, significant reductions in fatalities and serious injuries have been observed.

The previous plan included a goal of a 12 percent reduction in the number of fatalities in the first five years. By the end of 2012, fatalities in Arizona decreased by 23 percent which exceeded the state safety goal.

Since adopting the 2007 Strategic Highway Safety Plan, Arizona has enhanced existing transportation safety programs and laws, and implemented new safety programs. Some examples of these efforts to improve safety on public roadways in Arizona include:

  • The Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety has been recognized nationally for sponsoring successful Driving Under the Influence Task Forces in Arizona. ADOT supports these efforts by utilizing its network of highway message boards to display the “Drive Hammered, Get Nailed” reminder.
  • The Arizona Department of Public Safety initiated a distracted driving enforcement campaign in 2014.
  • In early 2014, the Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety partnered with ADOT to review and revise the Arizona Crash Facts Report form. The new form, which went into effect on July 1, provides more detailed data about types of distracted driving; secondary collisions; traffic incident response and transport times; and wrong-way driving collisions.
  • In 2013, ADOT launched the Driving Safety Home campaign to reduce the number of people seriously injured and killed in transportation incidents across Arizona.
  • ADOT partnered with the Department of Public Safety, Arizona Governor’s Office of Highway Safety and the Arizona Department of Health Services to pilot a “Safety Corridor” on Interstate 17 north of Phoenix during Labor Day weekend 2013.
  • In August 2012, Arizona expanded its car seat law to require vehicle booster seats for all children ages five through seven and under 4 foot 9 inches in height.
  • In July 2012, Arizona expanded its “Move Over” law to include tow truck drivers, roadside assistance providers, construction and maintenance vehicles, and stranded motorists who have activated their vehicle hazard lights.
  • ADOT has worked in cooperation with the Arizona Game and Fish Department to improve highway safety associated with wildlife crossings on state roadways, most notably on State Route 260 and US 93.