ARIZONA NEWS

Arizona’s highway crashes on the rise: Here’s what’s contributing to them

Aug 15, 2023, 4:15 AM | Updated: 8:15 am

Highway crash...

Crash on I-10 on March, 25,2023 in the far West Valley, (Twitter Photo/@AZFireAuthority)

(Twitter Photo/@AZFireAuthority)

PHOENIX The number of crashes on Arizona highways is up, but the top contributing factors remain the same.  

In 2022, there were 36,907 collisions on state highways compared to 2021 when there were 30,894 collisions, according to the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s annual report.  

The report found speed, distracted driving and unsafe lane changes are the top three contributing factors to collisions in the state.  

“The number one reason that people get involved freeway crashes in unsafe lane changes,” DPS Spokesman Bart Graves said. “They’re not looking in their mirrors, they’re not doing so safely and that’s how collisions occur. 

Graves told KTAR News 92.3 FM the department sees a lot of crashes involving motorcyclists.  

“A lot of them involve passenger vehicles that are changing lanes and do not see the motorcyclist there and that often causes a serious injury or fatal crash,” Graves said.  

Crashes rise as Arizona’s population grows

Graves adds the number of crashes happening on the roads continues to grow every year.  

“Frankly there’s more traffic in Arizona, there’s more people moving here, there’s more cars on the roadway,” Graves said.  

“There’s an enormous amount of commercial vehicle traffic, tractortrailer rigs passing through the state competing for lane space with passenger vehicles.” 

Between 2021 and 2022 the state had a 19.4% increase in crashes on the highways.  

The department recommends checking your blind spots when driving and adjusting your speed when getting ready to change lanes.  

Distracted driving is any activity that diverts attention from driving, including talking or texting on your phone, eating and drinking, talking to people in your vehicle, fiddling with the stereo, entertainment or navigation system, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. 

In Arizona, it is illegal to talk or test on a cellphone while driving unless the device is in hands-free mode. 25% of all car crashes involve some form of distraction and nearly 75% of drivers use their phones while driving.  

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Arizona’s highway crashes on the rise: Here’s what’s contributing to them