Arizona law enforcement raises awareness for crash responders; 5 deaths in past 2 years

It's crash responders week in Arizona, bringing awareness to the public to slow down and pay attention when you're on the road.
Published: Nov. 15, 2023 at 8:48 AM MST
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PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5/) - Traffic safety stakeholders from around Arizona gathered on Wednesday morning to promote Crash Responder Safety Week.

From 2020-2022 in Arizona, at least five responders were struck and killed by vehicles, additionally hundreds of other collisions have resulted in injuries to DOT workers.

The number of people killed on U.S. roadways decreased slightly last year, but government officials said the 42,795 people who died is still a national crisis.

Estimates by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration showed that the number of fatalities dropped 0.3% from the 42,939 killed in 2021. Traffic deaths declined slightly in the fourth quarter, the third straight quarterly drop.

But they’re still close to 2021 numbers, which were the highest in 16 years.

“We continue to face a national crisis of traffic deaths on our roadways, and everyone has a role to play in reversing the rise that we experienced in recent years,” Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg, whose department includes NHTSA, said in a statement

In releasing statistics for 2021 earlier this year, NHTSA said speeding and impaired or distracted driving are on the rise.

The number of pedestrians killed rose 13%, and cyclist fatalities were up 2% for the year. The number of unbelted passengers killed rose 8.1%, while fatalities involving alcohol-impaired driving were up 14%.

Speeding-related deaths increased 7.9%, while crash deaths involving large trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds were up 17%, the agency said.

NHTSA said in a statement that the fatality rate per 100 million vehicle miles traveled also fell slightly in 2022 to 1.35, down from 1.37 in 2021. People are driving more as the coronavirus pandemic waned, with miles traveled increasing almost 1% over 2021.

Officials are urging people to slow down, move over and keep clear of distracted driving when a crash responder is on the side of the road.

The Associated Press contributed to this story.