Arizona's traffic fatalities reached 16-year low in '09 - The Explorer: Pima Pinal

Arizona's traffic fatalities reached 16-year low in '09

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Posted: Tuesday, October 12, 2010 11:00 pm | Updated: 8:18 am, Thu Mar 24, 2011.

The number of traffic deaths on Arizona's roads is at a 16-year low, according to the Arizona Department of Transportation.

In data released by the U.S. Department of Transportation, Arizona had 807 traffic fatalities in 2009 — the lowest number since 1993. In 2008, 938 people lost their lives in crashes around the state. Viewed in relation to traffic volume, there were 1.29 fatalities per million miles traveled in 2009, down from 1.52 fatalities per million miles in 2008.

Over the past two years, Arizona has seen a 14 percent decrease in roadway fatalities.

Although there is no single contributing factor to the significant decrease in traffic fatalities around the state, ADOT credits a focus on "The Four Es" of roadway safety: engineering, enforcement, emergency response and education to reduce the number of traffic deaths.

"ADOT's number one priority is to design, build and maintain safe highways for those who rely on them every day," said ADOT Director John Halikowski. "There are a variety of modern improvements that we have already made to our state highway system and continue to implement. This includes enhancements to the roadway and the addition of technology along our freeways. All of these innovations work together with law enforcement officers and others in the safety sector to create a safer driving experience."

Shoulder rumble strips are one innovation ADOT has installed throughout the entire state highway system. Rumble strips are the roadway-edge warning grooves cut into the pavement to alert drivers when they have drifted onto the shoulder. They are proven to reduce crashes by 33 percent.

Other roadway safety improvements include raised and reflective pavement markers, larger traffic signals on state highways, guardrail end caps that act as crash cushions, wider, six-inch stripes on Arizona's entire highway system, cable barrier in urban areas and brighter freeway signs.

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