2006 Fatality Stats – Final

Arizona Leads the Nation [update: also see this entry]

NHTSA released final traffic stats for 2006 on July 23rd: Arizona led the nation in increased number of fatalities, by 109, from 1,179 in 2005 to 1,288 in 2006 (a whopping 9.2% increase). Overall US fatalities decreased by 2%.

Neighboring states to Arizona fared far better, with decreases, or at worst small increases.(CA down 2.2%, NV up 1.2%, NM down 0.8%, CO down 12%, TX, another border state, down 1.7%)

Arizona suffers from very high fatality rates — both in terms of per capita, and in terms of distance driven. The 2006 state-by-state breakdowns are not yet available. However Arizona numbers are likely to get even worse; I doubt our population increased more than 9% since last year!

Other notable stats, referring to whole US:

  • The final total was significantly below the preliminary numbers released in May. This is not mentioned in the released information.
  • The overall rate is the lowest ever measured — 1.42 per 100 million VMT, vehicle miles traveled.
  • The number of motorcycle fatalities for the first time ever, surpassed the number of pedestrian fatalities.
  • Overall number of fatals was down 2%
  • The number of bicyclist (known as “pedalcyclists”) killed was down in line with the overall reductions
  • Drunk and alchohol involved numbers were essentially flat from last year. Which means that the percentage of drunk fatals went up a bit: 34.7% in 2005 increased to 35.4%

USDOT press release.

The 2006 Traffic Safety Annual Assessment from NHTSA has more detail and better organized stats, pdf here.

Here’s a well written essay about traffic deaths. My only complaint is that the author, perhaps understandably, overemphasizes cyclist fatalities.

For some reason, the Arizona Republic completely missed the remarkable story that little-old Arizona had the biggest increase in traffic fatalities in the entire nation. Instead we get this, implying the problem is only DUI — I guess that sells more papers that way(?):

Ariz. in 3-way tie for biggest rise in DUI deaths

Glen Creno, The Arizona Republic, Aug. 27, 2007

Arizona was among three states leading the nation in the biggest increase in drunken-driving fatalities from 2005 to 2006.

The state tied with Texas and Kansas, having had 34 more fatal crashes involving car and motorcycle drivers with a blood-alcohol content of at least 0.08 percent, the legal threshold for intoxication. That’s an increase of 9.1 percent in Arizona, while the national number fell almost 1 percent, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s latest report on alcohol-related fatalities.

“Arizona is the fastest-growing state in the country now. . . . But it’s not an excuse for more impaired drivers on the road,” said Michael Hegarty, spokesman for the Governor’s Office of Highway Safety.

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