Over the last decade the Labor Day weekend has become one of the most dangerous weekends for car crashes (along with 4th of July and Thanksgiving weekends)…  so this weekend is a great time to think road safety.   Arizona has decreased the death rate from car, truck and motorcycle crashes by almost 50% in the last 5 years- but crashes are still the leading cause of death for people between 3 and 34.

Policy makers at various levels of government and the public at large can have an impact at reducing rates even further- but effective interventions require solid data.  Do you have partners or Stakeholders that need motor vehicle crash data to help make policy or staffing decisions?  Their first stop should be ADOT’s annual motor vehicle Crash Facts Report.  It provides a bonanza of useful data & statistics ranging from total crashes and fatalities and causes, percentages of incidents that were alcohol related, data on rural v. urban crashes and fatalities- even which days and times of days have more collisions (Friday afternoon is the peak for crashes including fatalities).  There are data about road conditions, lighting, even the kinds of crashes (head ons v. rear enders).  Lots of the data is broken down by gender and age too.  In short, it’s a gold mine for data about motor vehicle incidents and injuries in AZ.

It’s not just public officials that can make a difference… you can too.  For example, your community can work with the AZ Department of Transportation to conduct a Road Safety Assessment on state, local and tribal road facilities. The program is really a way for the public to bring road safety concerns to ADOT’s attention.  If you have an idea in your community you start working with your local transportation authority and other community members about making changes.   If your concern is part of the highway system you can contact ADOT or maybe even fill out their Road Safety Assessment Application.

By the way- car engineering improvements have greatly improved vehicle safety.  Check out this 2 minute video to see how a ’59 Bel Air fares v. a lighter ’09 Malibu at 40 MPH.  Make sure you watch the second half which shows what happens to the driver’s compartment.

Remember – buckle up, no matter when you’re on the road, but especially as you head out for the long holiday weekend.