Search Traffic Crash Data

Search FARS

FARS is the federal database of all police-reported fatal traffic incidents in the United States. It is intended to be complete accounting; it has come to my attention there are some known missing incidents.

This tool allows anyone to easily search the FARS database by exact date for the years from the most recent available (currently 2017) back to 2010. It also allows to filter by whether or not a pedestrian,  bicyclist, motorcyclist, or anybody was involved. Continue reading “Search Traffic Crash Data”

Tempe Traffic Collisions

There have been 4 bicyclists killed in Tempe traffic collisions on city streets (excludes limited-access highways) over the past 5 years [five year period 2010-2014); at the same time dozens of motorists and 14 pedestrians have been killed.

[UPDATed totals:  There have been a total of 9 bicyclist traffic fatalities in the past 13 years, 2009-2021]

Skip below to #fatals for an incident-by-incident description

Scope of the Problem

For the figures in this report, a 5-year time period, 2010-2014 was selected (the most recent available at the time; 2015 & 16 has since become available). Many additional crashes occur (14,000!) occur in Tempe on limited access highways; these crashes are not included.

There were 21,167 traffic crashes reported in the period, below are the number of people, by person type, involved: Continue reading “Tempe Traffic Collisions”

Enforcement drops, crashes proliferate, people die

photo: Kelly Presnell / Arizona Daily Star

Tim Steller’s excellent (dare I say, stellar?) piece in the Daily Star: Enforcement drops, crashes proliferate, pedestrians die exposes the inexplicable sharp decline in traffic enforcement in the City of Tuscon by the Tuscon PD.  Continue reading “Enforcement drops, crashes proliferate, people die”

Number and Severity of Arizona bike-MV crashes

[quick update on 2021 Crash Facts data — the pattern continues, the total number of reported cyclist crashes was only 1025. Notwithstanding a historically high fatality count of 43]

[at some point, ADOT began “scrubbing” PDO. As explained in the 12th Edition of the crash from instructions, linked here, effective 8/2019 AZ law bumped up the PDO reporting threshold from $1,000 to $2,000. As can be seen easily at the spreadsheet linked at Crash Facts 2021,  No-injury (and unknown injury) reports became exactly zero commencing with 2019).
In any event the PDO change would not explain all or even most of the dramatic decrease in reported non-fatal bicyclist crashes]

TL;DR? Here’s the bottom line:
Something suspicious is happening in 7 larger cities in Arizona ( ‘Chandler’, ‘Flagstaff’, ‘Glendale’, ‘Gilbert’, ‘Mesa’, ‘Scottsdale’, ‘Tempe’). That’s mostly the largest cities in AZ, excluding Phoenix and Tucson. In these 7 places, reported low-severity bike-MV crashes have decreased dramatically comparing before versus after 2014; suggesting some sort of policy change.[and note: the PDO limit issue of 2019, explained immediately above, doesn’t explain it, either]

It’s been noted that the number of reported Bike-MV crashes reported by police in Arizona have seen a mysterious sharp decrease; even as the number of MV crashes in general has risen. In round numbers through the 2009-2016 (some of the tables below have been updated to add 2017 & 2018) period, Bike-MV crashes have fallen by about a third, while MV crashes overall have increased by 20%. This time period covers the economic downturn following the Financial Crisis of 2008 and subsequent recovery. That trend has been used to explain the MV crash rate; but it doesn’t seem to have anything to do with Bike-MV rates; which would logically rise with more traffic and more (MV) traffic crashes.

Fewer crashes would be a good thing of course, but it feel like there’s something else going here. Also, the number of fatalities, while statistically small,  remained relatively flat but above their longer-term trend of 24 (rolling 10 yr average 2007-2016; refer to internal spreadsheet \crashReports\asdm\AZstats.xls)

Number of Arizona bike-MV crashes 2009-2019

Year Bike-MV all MV
2009 2000 107095
2010 1912 106301
2011 1910 103423
2012 2121 103176
2013 2039 107374
2014 1742 109553
2015 1434 116609
2016 1476 126845
2017 1496 127508
2018 1282 127133
2019 1256 128006
2020 830 * 98827 *
2021 1025 121222
2022 1159 (from Crash Facts) 119,921 (from crash facts)

*  presumably depressed from pandemic, explored more here.

Continue reading “Number and Severity of Arizona bike-MV crashes”

Arizona Crash Facts 2016

ADOT has released Crash Facts 2016 in the later part of June (of 2016), a bit later than normal; and I received the database from them sometime in July.

The graphical crash map has been updated and now contains 2009-2016 for both MV-bike and MV-ped crashes.

The Fatality Grid has been reconciled and contains some specifics on every bicyclist fatality in Arizona from 2009-2016

Continue reading “Arizona Crash Facts 2016”

2014 and 2015 Arizona Bicyclist Fatalities

With the sharp increase in traffic fatalities in 2015 (35,092 a 7.2% increase) — this is getting some extra attention, e.g. the Fastlane blog said on Aug 29, 2016: “2015 Traffic Fatalities Data Has Just Been Released: A Call to Action to Download and Analyze”. The big data news here is that PBCAT data has reappeared, and the 2014 and 2015 datasets released today both have a PBtable. PBCAT data is important because it give much more granular information about bicyclist (and pedestrian) fatalities. Continue reading “2014 and 2015 Arizona Bicyclist Fatalities”

Flagstaff Bike / Ped Crash Report

The City of Flagstaff has put together crash data DRAFT Working Paper 4 Pedestrian and bicycle crash data. This report released in Oct 2015 geographically covers Flagstaff Metropolitan Planning Organization (FMPO) region — so the city of Flagstaff and surrounding area —  for the 10-year period from 2005 to 2014. It is well documented and uses the ADOT Safety Data Mart exclusively. As such, it doesn’t add any additional data of the sort that was added by the City of Phoenix’s collision summary. E.g. The City of Phoenix summary breaks down the cyclist’s position (accurately, by reading each crash report narrative) to reveal 70% of cyclists involving in collisions were on the sidewalk just prior to the collision (either at a crosswalk, or driveway). Continue reading “Flagstaff Bike / Ped Crash Report”

Crash Injury Rates by Mode of Travel

There was a study published in 2007 which took FARS (for traffic fatalities) and GES (for injuries) data, and combined with NHTS (National Household Transp Survey. 2001) data to try to quantify relative risk of fatality/injury by travel mode per trip. Full text and full .pdf are both available free online: Continue reading “Crash Injury Rates by Mode of Travel”

2 percent of rear-end crashes involve a slowly-moving lead vehicle

photo: KPHO /KTVK
photo: KPHO /KTVK. The red pickup struck the rear end of a school bus that was already stopped.

Rear-end crashes are, by far, the most common motor vehicle crash. Looking at all MV-MV (that is, motor vehicle crashes excluding single-vehicle crashes), a whopping 47% were classified as rear-end, using 2012 Arizona data. That’s almost 50,000 rear-end collisions a year, just in Arizona!

The explanations generally run to generic excuses: the driver of the striking vehicle was driving too fast for conditions, or “distraction” — which are more-or-less true by definition. Continue reading “2 percent of rear-end crashes involve a slowly-moving lead vehicle”

Missing 2013 and 2014 Fatalities

A note about data sources

  • FARS. As of this writing the 2013 final is available, and 2014 is preliminary
  • Arizona Crash Facts; published yearly by ADOT in June of the following year
  • ADOT collision database sometimes called ASDM (I’ll refer to it as that, below); released yearly in June of the following year
  • News / Media reports; obviously this is very incomplete and hit-and-miss

Data from all these sources is located centrally on this google docs spreadsheet. which covers each bicyclist fatality occurring from 2009 onward.

Normally these are all in agreement, however there are multiple inconsistencies in both 2013 and 2014 that I cannot resolve. Continue reading “Missing 2013 and 2014 Fatalities”

Total VMT and fatalities are up


[mid/late 2016 NSC estimates for fatalities are up big-time over 2015]

As a follow on to last week’s story about how Arizona 2015 traffic fatalities are up by at least 15% …

Preliminary data prepared by the NSC shows traffic fatalities nationally are expected to be up 10% (though an AP story says 8%) . And FHWA preliminary data shows total VMT (Vehicle Miles Traveled) will increase to 3.1T miles, compared with 3T in 2014; (so perhaps a 3.5% increase). Continue reading “Total VMT and fatalities are up”

Arizona Motor Vehicle Fatalities increase in 2015

Preliminary data from ADOT shows a notable increase in traffic fatalities in 2015. At present the preliminary toll is 891 for 2015 — but is expected to rise as final reports trickle in — compared to 773 deaths in 2014. That would be a 15% increase.

There is no, not even a preliminary, breakdown by person type (driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, etc)… which seems odd. VERY preliminary bicyclist traffic fatality data for 2015 can be found at fatality-grid; but those numbers (presently 18 bicyclists) are guaranteed to be low because ADOT hoards the data for themselves, so it’s just whatever I came across in newspapers and word-of-mouth.

Also see report-phx-metro-freeway-crashes-dramatically-increase-in-2015 from a couple of weeks ago ; which noted that the number of crashes on Maricopa county freeways had increase even more dramatically, 23%, year-over-year.

Continue reading “Arizona Motor Vehicle Fatalities increase in 2015”

Report: Phx metro freeway crashes dramatically increase in 2015

The headline is the paper reads Report: DPS, ADOT clearing crashes faster on Maricopa County freeways but a factiod reveals later in the article should have been noted, my emphasis “Despite a 23 percent increase in freeway crashes“. This is a huge year-over-year increase. Why? If you read the actual press releases, it mentions the period is the first nine months of 2014 vs. 2015. yikes.

Continue reading “Report: Phx metro freeway crashes dramatically increase in 2015”

Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists

[Update: this article was written way back in 2011; since then i continued to update links to the yearly Publication; the 2020 data is currently most recent as of June 2023]

Each year, the USDOT, NHTSA (United States Dept of Transportation / National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) issues a report called Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists xxxx. The report comes out about 18 months after the close of the calendar year under review. Continue reading “Traffic Safety Facts: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists”