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DPS logbook says fatalities from crashes on Arizona highways rose in 2016

(Twitter Photo/@Arizona_DPS)

PHOENIX — The number of people killed in crashes on Arizona highways increased in 2016, the Department of Public Safety said this week.

The department’s Dec. 31 duty log showed 314 people were killed on the state’s highways last year, up from the 294 that were killed in 2015.

DPS Director Col. Frank Milstead said 117 of those people were not wearing seat belts. He said people offer a variety of reasons for not wearing the device.

“[For example,] there’s this old wives’ tale that if you have a seat belt on, you’ll be hurt worse in the vehicle than if you don’t,” he said. “That’s not accurate at all.”

Milstead said people without seat belts primarily are killed when they are ejected from a vehicle.

“You would not think that the human body would fit easily out a car window, but the force of the collision will force people right through,” he said.

Milstead said speed is also a factor in deadly crashes.

“Anybody who commutes in can see people are driving in excess of the speed limit,” he said. “Eighty miles per hour is pretty normal on an early commute until you reach a traffic-congestion point.”

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