If it feels like Arizona’s roads are deadlier by the day, you are right. A new report from the Arizona Department of Transportation said traffic fatalities last year were up 7.3 percent from 2015.
A look at the report shows an overwhelming number of people were killed due to careless decisions. Speeding, reckless driving, or impaired driving and not buckling up are the biggest killers. There was also a large spike in the number of pedestrians killed – up 17 percent.
Overall, 962 people died on Arizona roads according to ADOT. Officials said most of those deaths are easily avoidable. A perfect example is the high-profile wrong way crashes that have plagued Valley freeways lately.
“In most of those cases somebody had been heavily impaired,” said Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety. "People have got to realize what these numbers mean and it’s sad that this many people and their families have to put up with this."
Alcohol-related fatalities actually went down slightly from 2015. However, crashes caused by illegal and prescription drugs also rose slightly, making the total number of deaths from impairment 406 for the second year in a row.
ADOT said the stats follow national trends. And 2016 was still well below 2006, the deadliest year on record for Arizona.