The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) has released their crash report for 2016. Traffic fatalities rose dramatically for the second year in a row.

962 people died in car crashes in Arizona, 67 more than 2015. The overall increase in deaths follows a disturbing national trend.

ADOT’s annual crash report details the types of accidents; where they happened and what may have contributed to them. 250 people lost their lives because they were not wearing a seatbelt. Would tougher seatbelt laws and enforcement make a difference?

Driving impaired is another huge factor. Crashes involving alcohol, illegal drugs, or prescription medication killed 406 people in 2016. Driving under the influence is never okay; it’s a dangerous decision that may take your life and the lives of others.

Pedestrians didn’t fare well either. 197 pedestrians were killed, up from 163 in 2015. Motorcycle fatalities rose as well. Arizona is one of a few remaining states with no helmet law for riders over the age of 18.

The Most Dangerous Day of the Week?

The most likely day and time to be involved in a fatal crash? On a Friday at 5 pm, when most people are headed home for the weekend. The 4th of July continues to be the holiday with the highest number of fatal accidents. Celebrating the 4th is fine but don’t get behind the wheel if you’re impaired.

Multiple wrong-way driving crashes have occurred over the past few years, yet ADOT does not make mention of them in the report. For the second year, ADOT discusses the influence of distracted driving. A significant portion of the data is inconclusive. Arizona is one of the last states without a comprehensive statewide ban on texting and driving.

There is no question that driver behavior is the primary factor in fatal crashes in Arizona, but it’s not the only factor.

Many roads and highways across the state are unsafe. The number of accidents continues to rise, and more Arizonans are dying.

ADOT has done little to make our roads safer. The Leader Law Firm has been successful in litigation against the State for their negligence in keeping our roads safe. Two of our cases involved a lack of median barriers on I-10 between Tucson and Phoenix. To date, no barriers have been installed.

What can you do to protect yourself on Arizona’s roads?

-Don’t drive distracted-put your phone down
-Don’t drive impaired, either by alcohol, illegal drugs or medication
-Slow down, obey speed limits and wear your seat belt

Arizona’s population continues to surge, along with the crash fatality rate. We all play a role in safety, including the State of Arizona.