4 Major Causes of Motor Vehicle Accidents in Arizona
According to the motor vehicle accident statistics of the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), of the 98,778 motor vehicle accidents that occurred in Arizona in 2020, 30% of those crashes resulted in injuries or death. In fact, 41,350 persons were injured and 1,057 persons were killed in 2020 from motor vehicle crashes. While the types of motor vehicle accidents differ, some causes of crashes are far more common than others. Here are the four major causes of traffic accidents in Arizona.
- Speeding – In 2020, there were 29,580 motor vehicle crashes caused by drivers cited for exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for road conditions. 55% of those speed-related crashes resulted fatalities or injuries, with 337 persons killed and 15,839 persons injured in speed-related crashes. That accounts for 32% of fatalities and 38% of injuries from motor vehicle accidents in Arizona.
Driving at an unsafe speed refers not only to exceeding the posted speed limit, it includes instances when driving the posted speed limit is unsafe. For example, dust storms, heavy rain, and dense fog are considered unsafe conditions because visibility is lowered and your ability to anticipate or prevent a crash is significantly lessened. In these cases, traveling the posted speed limit may put you and others at risk of causing an accident. Likewise, if you are driving in heavy traffic, you may be unable to drive the posted speed limit and attempting to do could result in an accident.
- Failing to Yield the Right-of-Way – In 2020, 16,621 drivers caused motor vehicle crashes by failing to yield the right-of-way, representing 17% of all crashes in Arizona. 35% of those crashes resulted in personal injuries, with 101 fatalities and 5,715 persons injured. That accounts for 20% of all Arizona fatalities and injuries resulting from motor vehicle accidents
To help prevent these serious accidents, Arizona has several right-of-way laws such as when a driver can proceed into an intersection, enter the roadway, or merge into traffic. For example, when two vehicles arrive at an intersection from different directions at the same time, the driver on the left must yield to the driver on the right. Arizona laws also specify when a driver should and should not enter controlled intersections, uncontrolled intersections, T-intersections, and freeways. Further, there are laws about yielding to pedestrians and emergency vehicles, emerging from alleyways and driveways, making left turns and U-turns, and navigating roundabouts.
- Impairment or Fatigue – In 2020, there were 6,859 crashes involving drivers impaired by alcohol, illegal drugs, medications, marijuana, or fatigue. Of those crashes, 44.1% resulted in fatalities or personal injury, with 221 persons killed and 2,803 persons injured.
Of the 6,856 crashes caused by driver impairment in 2020, 4,506 crashes – or 70% – were attributed to alcohol-impairment. 45.21% of those motor vehicle crashes resulted in fatalities and injuries, with 181 persons killed and 2,863 persons injured.
Fatigue is a particular issue for long-haul and semi-truck drivers, who often work long shifts and are under pressure to deliver loads as quickly as possible. To help prevent fatigued driving, federal law restricts the number of consecutive working hours and imposes a minimum number of rest breaks for commercial drivers. When trucking companies or drivers fail to abide by these laws, they can be liable for crashes and injuries. In 2020, fatigued drivers caused 1,368 crashes, with nine fatal crashes and 520 injury crashes, making up 19.94% of all impaired-driver crashes.
- Distracted Driving – Distracted driving involves anything that takes your full concentration away from driving. In descending order, the behaviors listed below were the cited cause of 2,157 crashes in 2020, including 30 fatal crashes and 2,127 crashes involving injuries.
- Eating, drinking, or engaging in other activities inside the vehicle.
- Being distracted by events outside the vehicle.
- Operating an electronic device, other than talking.
- Interacting with passengers.
- Talking on handheld devices.
- Talking on hands-free devices.
ADOT also reported a total of 1,389 crashes caused by unknown distractions, of which nine were fatal and 502 were injury crashes.
Distracted driving is a huge problem nationwide, not just in Arizona. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that 3,142 were killed in 2019 due to distracted driving. Even taking five seconds to read a text message is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field at 55 mph with your eyes closed. This risky behavior can easily lead to accidents.
Talk to Us Today About Your Legal Needs Following Motor Vehicle Accidents
Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. is here to help accident victims and their families following an accident. In this situation, you need a Phoenix car accident attorney to represent you so that you can receive compensation from those responsible for causing your injuries. Together, we can determine the best course of action in your case and work to get you the relief you are seeking. Contact our offices to schedule a consultation today at 602-530-8400 or reach out to us online.