PHOENIX — The number of car crash fatalities in Arizona rose 15 percent from 2014 to 2015, according to preliminary data from the Arizona Department of Transportation.
Speeding, impaired driving and failure to buckle up contributed significantly to the death toll.
“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,” Col. 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.”
The increase in crash fatalities has leaders of state agencies that look after the safety of motorists calling for Arizonans to reflect on how they act in the driver’s seat.
“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.”
Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, said it’s especially important for drivers to understand how poor decisions can end in tragedy.
“Alcohol is involved in more than a third of the fatal crashes across the state,” Gutier said in a release.
“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.”
ADOT plans to publish their annual “Crash Facts Report” for 2015 in May 2016, which will contain definitive figures on car crashes in the state.