Traffic fatalities up 7.3 percent in Arizona, totalling 962

A fatal collision involving two semi-trailers and a passenger vehicle closed down traffic on Interstate 40 in Octoboer.

Miner File Photo

A fatal collision involving two semi-trailers and a passenger vehicle closed down traffic on Interstate 40 in Octoboer.

PHOENIX – The number of Arizona traffic fatalities rose to 962 in 2016, up 7.3 percent from 897 the previous year, according to Arizona Department of Transportation’s annual motor vehicle crash report.

It’s the second straight year of increasing fatalities, with speeding, driver impairment and failure to wear seat belts continuing to be the leading factors in fatal collisions.

The number of collisions rose 8.6 percent to 126,845.

The motor vehicle crash report is a compilation of traffic reports provided to ADOT by law enforcement agencies around the state.

Here are three important ways to save lives:

• Buckle up. Of the 962 people killed last year, 250 were not using a seat belt.

• Obey speed limits. Driving too fast is the most common driver violation and rear-end is the most common collision.

• Don’t drive impaired. Impaired drivers account for about 4 percent of all collisions and one-third of fatal collisions.

“Making travel safer begins before drivers turn the ignition,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said in a statement. “Too many people make the deadly decision to drive impaired, whether by alcohol, prescription pills or other drugs, and put all of us at risk.”

For the second year in a row, 406 people were killed in impaired driving collisions. However, fatalities related to alcohol decreased from 329 to 307, while fatalities related to illegal drugs or prescription medication rose from 77 to 99.

The highest number of motor vehicle crash fatalities in Arizona was 1,301 in 2006. While collisions and fatalities have risen in recent years following nationwide trends, 2016 totals are below numbers from a decade ago, despite having nearly 1 million more licensed drivers on Arizona’s roadways.

Pedestrian-involved fatalities spiked to 197 in 2016, compared with 163 the year before. The number of motorcycle riders killed in traffic crashes went up to 144 from 134 in 2015. For the complete report, go to azdot.gov/crashfacts.