Buckle up, slow down, survive Memorial Day weekend

The driver of a pickup truck was killed in this August 2017 crash on Highway 68, one of the most dangerous highways in Arizona. The pickup had to be cut out from underneath a semi-truck. (Daily Miner file photo)

The driver of a pickup truck was killed in this August 2017 crash on Highway 68, one of the most dangerous highways in Arizona. The pickup had to be cut out from underneath a semi-truck. (Daily Miner file photo)

PHOENIX – Arizona Department of Transportation is challenging drivers to make smart, safe decisions over the three-day Memorial Day Weekend, and achieve a goal of zero fatalities.

It hasn’t happened since at least 1971, when ADOT started compiling crash data, though fatalities have gone down from 11 in 2015, seven in 2016 and five in 2017.

Buckling up is the first and easiest step for drivers and passengers to survive an accident. About 25 percent of those who died in a crash were not wearing seat belts. Also, make sure children up to 5 years old are properly strapped into safety seats.

Last year, only one fatal crash during Memorial Day Weekend was attributed to alcohol. There were six in 2015.

“We’re moving in the right direction, but too many people are choosing to drive impaired,” said Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. “There are many other ways to get home instead of driving drunk. Plan ahead so you can get home safely. The cost of a cab or rideshare is far less than a DUI.”

DPS troopers will be patrolling throughout the state on Memorial Day Weekend, enforcing speed limits, looking for distracted and aggressive drivers and targeting drunk drivers.

“I am calling on the public to be safe and smart this holiday weekend,” DPS Director Frank Milstead said. “Your actions can save lives. Give yourself extra time, slow down, buckle your seat belt and don’t drive impaired.”

Information provided by DPS