Fatal Accidents In Arizona Stayed About The Same In 2020 Despite Reduced Traffic

By Scott Bourque
Published: Saturday, December 12, 2020 - 7:21pm

There have been fewer cars on the Arizona road the past nine months, as fewer people have been commuting and traveling during the pandemic.

The number of non-serious accidents investigated by the Arizona Department of Public Safety have dropped significantly — but fatal accidents remain on track to match or beat the numbers reported in 2019.

Department of Public Safety spokesperson Bart Graves said the number of minor accidents on highways throughout Arizona is down from last year, matching a trend in neighboring California.

"Non-injury collisions in Arizona on Interstate and state highways is down precipitously from where it was at this point last year by about 7,000," Graves said. "That's where the similarities end, to California stats."

In California, fatal crashes declined this year. In Arizona, they've mostly stayed the same. From September 2019 until Jan 1, 2020, DPS investigated 278 fatal crashes. In the same time this year, they’ve investigated 269, with a few weeks still to go.

“You can’t argue the fact that fewer people are on the highway system overall in 2020 as there were in 2019, judging by the 7,000 less non-injury collisions that DPS investigated," Graves said. "When it comes to fatal collisions, there’s not much change there.”

Traffic numbers in the Phoenix metro area began to return to pre-pandemic numbers shortly after the state's stay-at-home order ended in June. In California, stay-at-home orders were in effect longer and fewer people drove.

"As the state reopened, traffic began to pick up. And as schools started again, there's more traffic than there was since the spring," Graves said. "It's difficult to compare us to California with that."

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