Deadly crashes on the rise in southern AZ
TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - According to a 2015 preliminary driving report by ADOT, deadly car crashes are up in Arizona. In 2015, there were 891 motor-vehicle crash fatalities on Arizona roadways in 2015, up from 773 in 2014.
Impaired driving, speeding, and failure to use seat belts, helmets and other types of occupant protection contributed to many of those deaths, according to preliminary data.
Officials with the Arizona Department of Transportation say at least 34 percent of those killed in motor-vehicle crashes in 2014 were not wearing safety devices, including seat belts and helmets.
Over time, impaired driving has been involved in 34 percent of all fatal crashes in Arizona and in 20 percent of crashes resulting in serious injuries.
Meta Mason lost her husband in a car crash at La Cholla and Lambert back in 2014.
Mason says the driver who hit her family, "She didn't intend to run a red light. I don't know exactly what happened. From what I was told she was just distracted and not paying attention." Her husband, Karl, was killed; her 17-year-old daughter, Skylar, was hurt.
"She's had eight surgeries since then…she's lost her vision and her hearing on the left side," Mason said.
Too often distracted driving is the cause of car crashes. Valarie Vinyard, AAA Arizona Spokesperson explains, "A recent report by AAA says that 87 percent of drivers have reported behaving in risky behavior in the past month. That could be driving impaired, texting while driving, not wearing a seatbelt or driving while drowsy."
According to AAA, last year the number of deadly crashes was the highest since 2007.
Many drivers Tucson News Now spoke with think that distracted driving is to blame for the uptick.
Mason believes the driver who hit husband and daughter was distracted. "We just get too flippant. When we get behind the car and think that we can do everything else except pay attention to driving."
Aggressive driving was also shown as a leading cause of crashes in Arizona, according to ADOT's report.
Signs to look out for in aggressive driving include tailgating, making frequent lane changes, speeding, running red lights and taking out frustrations on fellow motorists.
For those who find themselves driving aggressively here are a few tips to remember:
- Try relaxing, perhaps by listening to soothing music
- Drive the speed limit, this helps reduce the risk of a crash
- Identify a less-congested route for your trip
- Know that driving aggressively is not worth the risk
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