ADOT: Motor vehicle crash deaths on the rise in 2016

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A fatal accident from Saturday, October 22, 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5) A fatal accident from Saturday, October 22, 2016. (Source: 3TV/CBS 5)
PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) -

A new report says traffic fatalities on Arizona’s roads and highways has risen for the second straight year and driver behavior continues to be the leading factor, according to Arizona Department of Transportation.

In ADOT’s annual Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report, 962 people have been killed in motor vehicle crashes in 2016, 65 more than last year and a 7.3 percent increase.

The amount of accidents have also gone up 8.6 percent, 126,845 in total.

According to ADOT, the increase in motor vehicle crashes and fatalities in Arizona follows a national trend.

Seat belts, speeding and reckless driving, and impairment are among the leading factors in traffic fatalities, ADOT said.

The report shows 250 of those killed were not wearing seat belts, speeding too fast for conditions is the most common driver violation and impaired driving crashed account for about 4 percent of all collisions, and one-third of fatal collisions.

“Making travel safer begins before drivers turn the ignition,” ADOT director John Halikowski said in a news release. “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.”

ADOT said 406 people were killed in impaired driving-related collisions. However, alcohol-related fatalities declined, falling from 329 people killed in 2015 to 307 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 in a news release. "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."

Arizona’s highest annual number of motor vehicle crash deaths is 1,301, which occurred in 2006.

While collisions and fatalities have risen in recent years, 2016 totals are below where they were a decade ago, despite having nearly one million more licensed drivers and registered vehicles on the road, ADOT said.

Pedestrian-involved accidents and fatalities, in addition to motorcycle operators and passengers killed in traffic accidents, have also increased from last year.

Other figures to note from the 2016 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report:

574 fatal crashes occurred on other roadways, such as county roads or city streets, and 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 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, while the most fatal crashes, 150, occurred on Saturdays.

The ADOT 2016 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report is available at azdot.gov/CrashFacts.

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