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Arizona highway deaths rose during pandemic, even as driving was declining

BIZ-transportation audit
Posted at 8:58 AM, Apr 05, 2021

Traffic deaths in Arizona surged during the COVID-19 pandemic, even as the number of miles driven in the state appeared to be decreasing, according to preliminary statistics from 2020.

There were 1,072 deaths on the state’s highways in 2020, the most in at least the past 10 years and a sharp increase from the 980 deaths recorded in 2019, according to preliminary data from the Governor’s Office on Highway Safety.

That increase in highway fatalities came as gasoline sales in the state last year fell 12% from the year before, the biggest one-year percentage drop in sales in almost 40 years of U.S. Energy Information Administration data on sales.

The Arizona numbers mirrored a national trend: A recent report from the National Safety Council said that total motor vehicle deaths in the U.S. rose 8% from the number recorded in 2019, even as miles driven in 2020 dropped 13%.

Read more from the Phoenix Business Journal.