It’s a tragedy that many drivers have come to accept. The number of people killed in traffic accidents each year across the United States and in Arizona still remains high, despite the advent of standard safety technology and increased involvement from road safety advocates.
How high is the traffic death toll?
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), approximately 36,750 people were killed in road crashes across the United States in 2018, reports USA Today. While this number is a 1 percent reduction from 2017 (37,133 deaths), it still marks the third-deadliest year of this decade – which is 12.2 percent higher than the all-time low of 32,744 in 2014.
Crash analysts place the blame on driver error. NHTSA reports the leading factors in 2017 included:
- Speeding: Speed was a factor in 9,717 traffic fatalities.
- Drunk driving: Approximately 10,874 people died in crashes caused by alcohol impairment.
- Distracted driving: Approximately 3,166 people died from crashes caused by distracted driving.
Staggering pedestrian fatality rate
Data from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) shows that pedestrians are more vulnerable now than ever. Approximately 6,227 pedestrians were killed in crashes across the US in 2018 – a 4 percent increase from 2017.
A poor infrastructure that favors speed and an increase in sport utility vehicles (SUVs) may be the leading factors in pedestrian crashes.
In 2018, approximately 245 pedestrians were killed on Arizona roads – up more than 8 percent from 2017.
What can Arizona residents do to prevent crashes?
Unfortunately, city officials in Phoenix voted against adopting the Vision Zero program goals of cutting traffic fatalities in half by 2035 and eliminating them by 2050. Phoenix reportedly has the highest rate of pedestrian deaths among cities with populations greater than 10,000 – and the highest in Arizona.
Tempe, on the other hand, is partaking in Vision Zero and intends to roll out improvements to infrastructure, enforcement, and education.
"Zero being the number of fatal and serious injury crashes in the city of Tempe and we believe that anything more than zero just isn't good enough," Tempe Traffic Engineer Julian Dresang said.
Until these improvements are made throughout our state, preventing fatal crashes depends primarily on driver responsibility. Drivers are expected to keep their hands on the wheel and eyes on the road, stay sober, and travel at a speed that is safe and prudent.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash because another driver failed to uphold his or her duty as a driver, speak to an experienced Arizona car accident attorney as soon as possible.
Schedule your free consultation with Israel & Gerity, PLLC today by contacting us online.