Arizona sees 12-year high in traffic deaths despite decline in 2020 crashes

Jul 31, 2021, 5:45 AM | Updated: 8:27 am
(Flickr Photo/Arizona Department of Transportation)...
(Flickr Photo/Arizona Department of Transportation)
(Flickr Photo/Arizona Department of Transportation)

PHOENIX — Traffic deaths in Arizona reached a 12-year high in 2020, despite reductions in traffic volume due to the pandemic, a recent report showed.

At least 1,057 people were killed in traffic collisions, up from 980 in 2019, while the state saw drivers travel an estimated nearly five billion fewer miles in 2020 — a 7% decrease from the previous year, according to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report published on Thursday.

Categories that track deaths showed an increase, including deaths from speed-related and lane-departure crashes, as well as deaths from people not wearing seatbelts.

At the same time, the total number of traffic crashes came in under 100,000 for the first time since 1993.

The alcohol- and motorcycle-related crashes saw fewer fatalities in 2020 than 2019, with alcohol-related deaths declining to 181 compared to 258 the previous year– a 30% decrease — and motorcycle-related deaths decreasing to 160 from 170.

The Arizona Department of Transportation said “the rise in traffic fatalities last year illustrates that real change must begin in the driver’s seat as driver behavior is a major factor in traffic collisions,” in a press release.

The report, produced by ADOT, is a compilation of traffic crash reports provided by state law enforcement agencies and reflects crash data for all Arizona roadways.

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Arizona sees 12-year high in traffic deaths despite decline in 2020 crashes