Millions of accidents happen across the U.S. every year, and more than 100,000 occur in Arizona. Unfortunately, many of these collisions result in devastating injuries and fatalities. With Arizona’s large population centers in the greater Phoenix and Tucson areas, it is unsurprising that these cities and counties account for the greatest proportion of accidents in the state. However, Arizona has also seen an increase in injury and fatality crashes on highways and in rural areas. Knowing the accident statistics in Arizona might help you to understand the common causes of crashes and why they occur so that you might be able to reduce the chances that you will be involved in one. If you are injured in a crash or lose your loved one because of the negligent actions of another driver, you might be entitled to recover monetary compensation for your losses.
Total Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Arizona Auto Accidents
The Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT) publishes crash data for the state each year, breaking down the types of collisions, where they occur, their contributing factors, and whether they resulted in injuries, fatalities, or only involved property damage. ADOT’s most recent crash stats report covers data from 2021.
In 2021, ADOT reports that 121,345 total collisions occurred in the state. Out of these, 104,757 happened in urban areas while only 16,588 occurred in rural locations. While 85,079 only resulted in property damage, 35,023 caused injuries, and 1,063 caused the deaths of one or more people.
The total number of people who died in Arizona crashes in 2021 was 1,180. An additional 51,633 people were injured. As compared to the crash totals in 2020, Arizona experienced a sharp uptick in total crashes and fatalities. The increase in total accidents was 23% year-over-year, rising from 98,776 in 2020 to 121,345 a year later. Similarly, Arizona saw an increase in fatalities of 12% from 2020 to 2021. In 2020, the total number of people who were killed in collisions was 1,054 as compared to the 1,180 who lost their lives in 2021. Similarly, there was a significant increase in the total number of people who were injured in Arizona accidents in 2021 as compared to 2020. In 2020, 41,350 people were injured as compared to the 51,633 who sustained auto accident injuries in 2021, which was a nearly 25% year-over-year increase.
Out of all counties in Arizona, Maricopa County had a far higher number of crashes, fatalities, and injuries. This is unsurprising given that Maricopa County and the cities that make it up have a population of 4.49 million of the state’s total population of 7.26 million as of 2021.
In 2021, ADOT reports that 86,867 of the state’s total crashes occurred in Maricopa County. Out of these, 24,283 were injury accidents, and 546 were fatality accidents resulting in injuries to or deaths of one or more people. The total number of people who were killed in Maricopa County collisions in 2021 was 594, and 35,488 others were injured. This means that slightly more than 50% of all 2021 traffic fatalities in Arizona happened in Maricopa County, and the county also experienced 29% of the total number of people who were injured.
Of the total number of Maricopa County crashes, 40,883 happened in Phoenix, resulting in 49 deaths and 872 injuries.
Pima County and Tucson also had a large percentage of the state’s total crashes, fatalities, and injuries and is the second most populous county in Arizona with 1,052,030 residents. In 2021, ADOT reports that there were 10,872 total crashes in Pima County. Out of these, 155 involved the deaths of one or more people, and 3,713 resulted in injuries to one or more people. The total number of traffic fatalities in Pima County in 2021 was 161, and 5,432 people were injured.
Tucson accounted for 6,190 of the total crashes that occurred in Pima County in 2021. These collisions resulted in 34 deaths and 285 injuries.
Common Contributing Factors to Arizona Auto Collisions
Arizona’s crash data also reveals several common contributing factors. Understanding what causes accidents is important so that people can take steps to avoid engaging in negligent driving behavior that could place both them and others on the roads in danger.
Alcohol and/or Drug Impairment
Even though Arizona has some of the most severe drunk driving laws, the state still experiences a large number of DUI crashes every year. In 2021, the state reports that 243 of the fatalities that happened in Arizona in 2021 involved alcohol, which was an increase of 6.5% over the 228 alcohol-related traffic fatalities that occurred in 2020. The total increase in crashes in general in which alcohol was involved was almost 25% to 5,620 alcohol-related crashes in Arizona in 2021 as compared to 4,506 in 2020.
Speeding is a leading factor in collisions in the state and is a contributing factor in a large percentage of collisions. According to a report in AZ Central, speeding contributed to approximately 30% of fatal collisions that happened in Arizona in 2021.
Other common contributing factors to Arizona car accidents include the following:
- Distracted or inattentive driving
- Failing to yield
- Failing to obey traffic control devices and stop signs
- Driving while drowsy
- Driver inexperience
- Aggressive driving
- Poor road or weather conditions
Possible Reasons for the Increases in Crashes, Fatalities, and Injuries
The vast majority of accidents in Arizona are caused by preventable driver errors. If people followed the state’s traffic laws and avoided driving while impaired, drowsy, or distracted, the state would likely experience far fewer crashes. Unfortunately, however, Arizona’s data demonstrates the number of crashes, injuries, and deaths has risen instead of going down.
There are several possible reasons for the increases in total crashes, injuries, and deaths in Arizona. First, more people were on the road in 2021 than in 2020 as people emerged from their homes following the height of the pandemic. With more people traveling on the roads, the chances of accidents also increased.
Most people also have smartphones, and many fail to secure them away while they drive. When people answer their phones, check text messages, or check maps while they drive, their attention is diverted away from the road. Texting while driving is nearly as dangerous as driving while drunk since vehicles can travel a long distance while people are looking at their phones instead of the roads.
The increase in alcohol-related crashes is concerning and indicative of a broader societal issue surrounding substance abuse. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 13% of Americans reported increasing their use of alcohol and other substances in June 2020 to cope with pandemic-related stress. The increase in alcohol-related crashes in Arizona since that time could indicate a larger number of people whose substance abuse has continued.
Regardless of the reasons for the increase in traffic accidents in Arizona, the state needs to take targeted action to reduce collisions and prevent traffic fatalities and injuries. This could include increasing enforcement actions by the police and providing a greater emphasis on educational campaigns and mental health and substance abuse programs.
Talk to Lamber Goodnow
Even if you exercise caution whenever you drive and follow the state’s traffic laws, it is not always possible to avoid being involved in auto collisions. If you were injured or lost your family member in a crash caused by a negligent driver, you should reach out to the auto accident lawyers at Lamber Goodnow. Call us today to schedule a consultation to learn more about your rights and options.