ARIZONA NEWS

Highway fatalities in Arizona continue three-year climb in 2016

Apr 18, 2017, 6:15 AM
...

WASHINGTON – Highway fatalities in Arizona rose from just over two per day in 2014 to an average of more than 2.6 per day last year, the highest level in nine years, according to the most recent estimates.

The 2016 numbers capped a steady three-year rise in traffic fatalities after several years of fluctuations, according to estimates from the National Safety Council. The state’s rise in fatalities mirrored the increase over the same three-year period in the U.S., which also hit motor vehicle death numbers not seen since 2007.

The safety council said the 950 people killed in crashes throughout Arizona in 2016 represented a 23.7 percent increase from the 768 who were killed just two years earlier.

“Unfortunately, the news is not good in Arizona,” said Kelly Nantel, vice president of communications and advocacy at the safety council. “In the national average we went up about 6 percent in fatal crashes in 2016, in Arizona, that number is 8 percent (from 2015).”

Nationwide, the safety council estimates that 40,200 people lost their lives on roads in the United States, up from 35,398 in 2014.

“This is a terrible trajectory for our country,” Nantel said. “There are a lot of things we can do, all of us individually and collectively to help drive down those numbers.”

Low gasoline prices and an improving economy boosted the total number of miles driven on U.S. roads last year to more than 3.2 trillion miles, the fifth straight year of increases, according to the Federal Highway Administration. But that 3 percent increase in driving last year is only half the 6 percent increase in fatalities last year.


-Graphic by Arren Kimbel-Sannit

A safety council survey that was released with the fatality estimates found that while most people consider highway safety important, two-thirds said they were comfortable speeding and almost half said they texted – manually or hands-free – behind the wheel.

Another 13 percent said they had driven after using marijuana, 10 percent said they drove even after they felt their ability to do so “had been compromised” by drinking and 64 percent said they felt it was safe to drive after taking opioid pain medication. The survey of 2,001 people was taken from late January to early February.

All those are risk factors that can be controlled, said Jessica Cicchino, vice president for research at the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

“If states cracked down on some of the reasons that we see for the most number of fatalities, things like impaired driving or speeding … we really could see this number come down a lot,” Cicchino said.

The Arizona Department of Transportation is putting the issue in front of drivers with creative freeway signs that highlight the problem while being clever enough to grab drivers’ attention.

But safety advocates say more needs to be done.

“I don’t think any of us will ever be satisfied until we reach zero deaths on our roadways, Nantel said. “We can do and we must do much better. ”


-Cronkite News video by Tyler Fingert

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(L-R) Sen. Mitt Romney (R-UT), Sen. Kyrsten Sinema (I-AZ) and Sen. Todd Youg (R-IN) sit together du...
KTAR.com

Arizona politicians react to Joe Biden’s State of the Union speech

Joe Biden wrapped up his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, and politicians from Arizona responded predominantly along party lines.
1 day ago
U.S. President Joe Biden delivers the State of the Union address to a joint session of Congress as ...
KTAR.com

Joe Biden urges Congress to pass comprehensive border reform during State of the Union

President Joe Biden during his State of the Union address urged Republicans and Democrats to work together on border legislature. 
1 day ago
Francisco Gurrola (Department of Public Safety Photo)...
KTAR.com

Silver Alert issued for 41-year-old man last seen in Phoenix

A silver alert was issued on Tuesday evening for a 41-year-old man last seen in the area of Campbell and 63rd avenues in Phoenix.
1 day ago
President Biden gives his State of the Union address during a joint session of Congress at the U.S....
KTAR.com

Watch: President Joe Biden gives 2nd State of Union address

President Joe Biden gave his second State of the Union address in office to a joint session of Congress at the Capitol on Tuesday night.
1 day ago
From left, Kendall Schmidt, Carlos Pena Jr., Logan Henderson and James Maslow, members of Big Time ...
Wills Rice

Big Time Rush’s ‘Can’t Get Enough Tour’ comes to Phoenix in August

For those that grew up with the Nickelodeon television show Big Time Rush, you are in for a big treat when their tour comes to town.
1 day ago
U.S. Department of 
Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro N. Mayorkas addresses the media during a ...
KTAR.com

Homeland Sec. Mayorkas says there is no credible threat against Super Bowl in Arizona

An increased security presence will be deployed at the Super Bowl, with every person, piece of merchandise and equipment screened.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

(Pexels Photo)...

Sports gambling can be fun for adults, but it’s a dangerous game for children

While adults may find that sports gambling is a way to enhance the experience with more than just fandom on the line, it can be a dangerous proposition if children get involved in the activity.
...
Fiesta Bowl Foundation

Celebrate 50 years of Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade magic!

Since its first production in the early 1970s, the Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe has been a staple of Valley traditions, bringing family fun and excitement to downtown Phoenix.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...
DESERT INSTITUTE FOR SPINE CARE

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
Highway fatalities in Arizona continue three-year climb in 2016