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Arizona motor-vehicle crash deaths dropped in 2014

ADOT director and leaders of other public safety agencies urge continued focus on safe-driving behaviors
June 01, 2015

PHOENIX – The number of deaths in motor-vehicle crashes across the state dropped by nearly 9 percent in 2014, according to annual statistics released by the Arizona Department of Transportation.

An analysis of law enforcement reports on crashes shows 774 people were killed last year on state and local highways and streets, compared to 849 fatalities in 2013, according to ADOT’s 2014 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts.

The highest annual number of motor-vehicle crash fatalities in Arizona – 1,301 – occurred in 2006.

“While it is encouraging to see a reduction in crash fatalities, all drivers in our state need to focus on the safe behaviors that will keep us moving toward an ultimate goal of zero fatalities,” said ADOT Director John Halikowski. “The key to having fewer tragic deaths is for all of us to do the smart things, such as buckling up, obeying speed limits, avoiding distractions and never driving while impaired. That would make a remarkable difference.”

The most-common driver violation cited in law enforcement crash reports was “speed too fast for conditions.”

Annual figures also show fewer motorcycle riders or passengers died in Arizona last year. ADOT's report shows 127 motorcycle-related deaths in 2014, compared to 149 fatalities in 2013 and 139 such deaths in 2012.

The annual report shows 28 bicyclists were killed last year, compared to 29 in 2013 and 18 in 2012. Pedestrian deaths also were down just slightly, from 160 in 2013 to 157 in 2014. 

While fatal crashes and deaths went down last year, the report shows an increase in all crashes.  A total of 109,554 crashes occurred across Arizona in 2014, an increase of almost 2 percent compared to 2013 (107,477 crashes). There were 708 fatal crashes in the state last year, compared to 782 in 2013.

“The drop in fatal collisions was positive, but sadly, there are 774 people who did not go home to their families last year,” said Colonel Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety.

“The DPS family, in partnership with ADOT and the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, will continue to stress the need for drivers to avoid distractions while also asking the public to help in efforts to keep impaired drivers from getting behind the wheel. We all have a responsibility to strictly obey our state's traffic laws,” said Milstead.

A downward trend in alcohol-related fatalities continued last year, with a 6 percent drop. There were 265 alcohol-related deaths on the state’s roads in 2014, compared to 282 in 2013 and 283 in 2012.

The total number of reported alcohol-related crashes was down from 5,239 in 2013 to 4,887 in 2014. Sadly, alcohol was involved in more than a third (34 percent) of all fatal crashes.

“I need to laud the efforts of law enforcement agencies across the state to take impaired drivers off the road,” said Governor’s Office of Highway Safety Director Alberto Gutier. “We continue to drive home our message – Drive Hammered, Get Nailed. If you can take someone’s keys away or arrange for a designated driver, you could be a lifesaver.”

Here are other figures from the 2014 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report:

  • One person was killed in a motor-vehicle crash every 11.33 hours in 2014 (average of 2.12 people killed each day).
  • At least 266 (34 percent) of the 774 people killed in motor-vehicle crashes 2014 were not wearing safety devices, including seat belts and helmets.
  • Urban-area fatalities (397 deaths) decreased more than 10 percent last year (compared to 442 in 2013).
  • Rural-area fatalities (377 deaths) decreased by more than 7 percent last year (compared to 407 in 2013).
  • Single-vehicle crashes accounted for 17 percent of all crashes but also 37 percent of all fatal crashes.
  • Crashes during daylight hours (6 a.m. – 6 p.m.) accounted for 72.5 percent of all crashes in 2014, nearly the same as in 2013.
  • Friday was the peak day of the week for all crashes during 2014 (18,759 crashes).
  • The Thanksgiving weekend was the deadliest holiday weekend on Arizona roadways last year (18 deaths). Nine people were killed in crashes over the July Fourth holiday weekend in 2014.
  • Motor-vehicle crashes resulted in $3.02 billion in economic losses for Arizona last year. 

The ADOT 2014 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report is available at:azdot.gov/mvd/Statistics/arizona-motor-vehicle-crash-facts.

Last year, ADOT and other public safety agencies completed an update of Arizona’s State Highway Safety Plan, a framework for reducing fatalities and serious injuries on all public roads in the state. Emphasis areas addressed in the report are speeding and aggressive driving, impaired driving, occupant protection, motorcycle safety and distracted driving.

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