Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) data recently revealed a rise in motor-vehicle crash fatalities on state roadways, which analysts attributed to impaired driving, failure to use seat belts and speeding, among other issues.
ADOT confirmed 891 motor-vehicle crash fatalities for last year, exceeding the 773 crash fatalities from 2014. This figure could change once ADOT receives official reports from local law enforcement offices throughout the state.
“We often talk about the E’s of traffic safety, including engineering, education and enforcement,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said. “But another E is equally important, and that is 'everyone.' For Arizona to move toward our goal of zero fatalities, everyone must think about their responsibility to others when they get behind the wheel.”
Another official lamented the effect of alcohol on road deaths.
“Alcohol is involved in more than a third of the fatal crashes across the state,” Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said. “Everyone should be aware of just how devastating impaired driving is in this state, and those who put innocent lives at risk by doing so should be prepared to face the consequences.”
Speed is also a major problem, accounting for a large number of the crashes and fatalities that took place in 2015.
“A significant cause of fatal crashes in Arizona, in addition to impairment and failing to use seat belts, is speed, unsafe lane changes and following too close,” Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety, said. “Aggressive driving is a crime and puts everyone on the road at risk. If you see it, report it.”
Transportation officials urge drivers to use seat belts as one of the best preventive measures to avoid serious injuries in a traffic accident.
“It’s important to securely buckle up all of your passengers,” Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services, said. “Creating a healthy environment inside your vehicle includes the use of seat belts and zero distractions. That email or text can wait.”