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Fatal crashes in Arizona over Memorial Day weekend declining

(Pixabay Photo)

PHOENIX — Memorial Day weekend is one of the deadliest holiday periods to be on the road, but a new study finds Arizona is one of the only states seeing a decline in fatal crashes.

The study by 1Point21 Interactive, a data visualization firm, shows fatal crashes were up by nearly 19% nationally during the four-day holiday from 2012 to 2017.

“But in Arizona, it actually showed a 21% decrease – so a pretty significant difference,” said Brian Beltz, research lead and content manager at 1Point21 Interactive.

According to the study, there were more than 2,500 fatal crashes from 2012 to 2017. Of those, 46 occurred in Arizona.

Montana had the biggest decline in crashes over the six-year holiday period, with a drop of 33%.

Texas led the way with the highest number of fatal crashes at 269. The next closest state was California with 215 fatal crashes.

The study also found the highest number of crashes nationwide occurred between 8 p.m. and 9 p.m. Overall, 35% of fatal crashes involved alcohol. However, that percentage jumped to 62% from midnight to 4 a.m.

Beltz said the study is meant to remind people about the increased crash risks for Memorial Day weekend.

“There’s a gigantic increase in people on the road this weekend, so I want to make sure people are making sure their tires are inflated, they’re not drinking and driving and if they get tired that they’re taking breaks,” he said. “Whatever they can do to stay safe out there.”

The study, conducted using data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, comes as Memorial Day weekend is already proving to be deadly on Arizona highways.

Five people died Friday in a wrong-way crash on Interstate 40 near Kingman. The crash shut down westbound traffic for several hours.

More than 877,000 Arizonans are expected to travel during the weekend, an increase of over 4% from 2018.

That’s despite Arizona being in the midst of its highest gas prices since 2014. On Friday, Arizona’s statewide average of $3.15 a gallon topped the national average by about 30 cents, but prices showed promise of trending downward.

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