Traffic fatalities in Arizona reached a 3-year low in 2019

Crashes involving distracted drivers fall 11.8%

PHOENIX – Traffic crash fatalities on Arizona roadways in 2019 fell to their lowest total in three years, according to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report published Tuesday, June 30.

Total traffic crash fatalities was one of several key measurements that decreased in 2019 from 2018. The 2019 report also tallied fewer pedestrian fatalities, alcohol-related fatalities, fatalities of those not wearing seat belts and distracted drivers involved in crashes compared to the previous year.

The Arizona Department of Transportation produces the annual Motor Vehicle Crash Facts Report, which is a compilation of traffic crash reports provided by law enforcement agencies around the state. The report reflects crash data for all Arizona roadways, including city streets, county roads, reservation roads and state highways.

While the total number of fatalities decreased, the total number of crashes in Arizona rose by 1.6% from 2018 to 2019. In the same timespan, Arizona saw the total number of licensed drivers increase by 1.3% to 5.38 million.

Reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries can’t be solved by state agencies alone because 68% of crashes occur on roads other than state highways. In fact, real change must begin in the driver’s seat because driver behavior is a factor in more than 90% of collisions. Some of those behaviors saw better results in 2019 than recent years, but there are still too many preventable crashes, fatalities and injuries occurring on Arizona’s roads.

The report shows that at least 10,491 drivers involved in collisions during 2019 engaged in “distracted driving behavior.” This is an 11.8% decrease from 2018, when the figure was 11,898. In April 2019, when Governor Doug Ducey signed HB 2318, it became illegal for drivers to talk or text on a cellphone while driving unless the device is in a hands-free mode.

Arizona continues to see fewer deaths related to drinking and driving and not wearing seat belts. Alcohol-related fatalities decreased for the third straight year, falling 21% since 2017, and the 256 fatalities in 2019 is the lowest total since 2010. The number of people killed not wearing seat belts fell for the fifth year in a row – from 258 in 2015 to 211 in 2019 – but unbuckled occupants still account for about a fifth of all traffic fatalities.

Pedestrian fatalities fell to their lowest total since 2016, with 220 in 2019. Most pedestrian fatalities occur on surface streets in urban areas, and pedestrians should cross streets only at marked crosswalks where drivers expect to see them.

Crashes involving bicyclists and motorcycles continued a years-long downward trend. The 1,275 total crashes involving bicyclists in 2019 are the fewest since at least 1991 – crashes involving bikes peaked in 2012 with 2,146. Crashes involving motorcycles declined for the third straight year and reached their lowest total (2,676) since 2004. Yet, despite the decrease in crashes for these categories, each saw a year-over-year increase in bicyclists and motorcycle operators and passengers killed in vehicle collisions.

The full 2019 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report is available at azdot.gov/CrashFacts.

 

Temporary increased truck weight limits extended through July 30

Eased limits are for commercial loads with critical supplies

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation has extended through July 30 the temporary higher weight limits for commercial trucks hauling critical supplies and goods during the current public health situation.

In response to a national emergency declaration, and to align with the temporary increase in truck weights by neighboring states, ADOT in early April raised the gross weight limit for commercial vehicles to 90,000 pounds without the need for an overweight permit, up from the normal 80,000 pounds. That temporary measure, previously extended to June 30, will now remain in effect until July 30.

For more information, visit azdot.gov.

ADOT Safety Message Contest finalists announced

Vote for your favorite at azdot.gov/signcontest

PHOENIX – Need a fun distraction for a few minutes? The Arizona Department of Transportation has you covered.

2020 ADOT Message Contest Voting GraphicIt’s time to vote for your favorite in ADOT’s fourth annual Safety Message Contest. From Monday, May 11, through Sunday, May 17, you can pick your favorite from among the 12 finalists and vote at azdot.gov/signcontest.

“In these unprecedented times, we can all use a distraction that makes us smile, even if it’s just for a moment, and taking a look at the best of the contest’s message entries can, hopefully, do that,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said.

Arizonans submitted more than 4,000 messages that covered a variety of traffic safety topics, including, texting and driving, impaired driving, blinker use, tailgating, seat belts, child safety seats and more. The two finalists that receive the most votes will be displayed on Dynamic Message Signs statewide.

ADOT began displaying unconventional safety messages on overhead signs in 2015 as part of an effort to encourage drivers to make better decisions behind the wheel. According to national traffic statistics, more than 90% of vehicle crashes are caused by driver decisions, including choosing to speed and to drive distracted, impaired or recklessly.

“For the past four years the safety message contest has generated tremendous engagement with the public, and it’s wonderful to see,” Halikowski added. “We want to see people thinking and talking about safe driving, and the contest helps further that effort.”

ADOT extends raised truck weight limits for delivery of essentials

Eased limits for loads with critical supplies continuing through May

Truck at port of entry

PHOENIX – The Arizona Department of Transportation has extended higher weight limits for commercial trucks hauling critical supplies and goods that Arizona communities are relying on during the current public health situation.

Coordinating with Governor Ducey, ADOT in early April raised the gross weight limit for commercial vehicles to 90,000 pounds without the need for an overweight permit, up from the normal 80,000 pounds. That temporary measure, set to expire on April 30, has now been extended to the end of May.

“These temporary rules are helping ensure Arizona’s groceries, pharmacies and medical providers remain adequately supplied,” ADOT Director John Halikowski said.

The temporary weight limits apply to commercial vehicles that are providing direct assistance to COVID-19 relief efforts as outlined in a federal emergency declaration issued in March. This includes, among other essential items, medical supplies related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, supplies necessary for community safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19, and food and household items for emergency restocking of stores.

ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division officers have implemented the new weight protocol at commercial ports of entry. Commercial vehicles will continue to be required to comply with state and federal regulations, and officers will continue to conduct safety inspections and issue permits as needed.

Ports of entry at state lines and international borders remain open and staffed by ADOT officers and other staff to screen commercial vehicles to ensure the safe flow of commodities and supplies while supporting federal guidelines to keep America’s commerce moving.

For information on other steps ADOT has taken to support Arizonans during the current public health situation, please visit azdot.gov/covid-19-resource-center.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 in Arizona, please visit azhealth.gov/covid19. For resources and information about Arizona’s response to COVID-19, please visit ArizonaTogether.org

ADOT offering virtual training to truck drivers in Mexico

Webinars help officers continue promoting commerce during pandemic

BLU Webinar Presentation

PHOENIX – An Arizona Department of Transportation program that helps truck drivers in Mexico better understand and prepare for safety inspections at the border is using technology to provide virtual training during the current public health situation.

The goal of this training offered by ADOT’s Border Liaison Unit is reducing commercial vehicle wait times at the international border by cutting down on safety problems and other issues that truck drivers must address before leaving commercial ports of entry. That helps make Arizona’s ports more appealing places for trucks to enter the U.S.

Part of ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division, which operates commercial ports of entry, the Border Liaison Unit offered its first training by webinar recently for 30 trucking companies from the Mexican states of Sonora and Baja California. More sessions are planned.

“The webinar was a huge success,” said Officer Frank Cordova of the Border Liaison Unit. “We’re looking to make webinar-based workshops a staple of the training we provide, as it allows us to reach even further into Mexico and the U.S. to continue educating the commercial industry.”

The Border Liaison Unit saw an increase in inquiries from Mexican truckers regarding current emergency restrictions and exemptions for commercial vehicles due to COVID-19. Future sessions will cover safety training previously conducted in person such as electronic log books and critical items officers look for in inspections.

That assistance complements International Border Inspection Qualification training that ADOT has offered in person since 2016. Drivers certified through that program are able to share questions and pictures of their vehicles via WhatsApp and communicate with ADOT officers about potential safety issues before driving to the border.

Meeting this demand with a webinar helps ADOT officers and commercial truck drivers observe social distancing. Longer-term, offering virtual instruction reduces travel expenses.

“I’m very proud of this unit for finding ways to continue to work with our local and international partners in the trucking industry,” Cordova said. “Even a pandemic won’t keep us from doing the job we’re passionate about.”

Driver License Renewal Extensions Implemented

By Executive Order of Governor Doug Ducey the following extensions are in place:

  • Driver License renewal requirements are extended six months from the expiration date for all Arizona driver licenses and driving permits that expire between March 1, 2020 and September 1, 2020.

    For example, if a driver license expires on March 20, 2020, the new expiration date will be September 20, 2020.

  • Requirements to submit a medical clearance card for a commercial driver license are extended until September 1, 2020.

These deferred dates will be reflected on motor vehicle records for impacted people.

Customers do not need to obtain a duplicate credential. Your current driver license or ID card will be accepted by law enforcement and other government agencies under this Executive Order. If desired, customers may obtain a duplicate driver license or ID on ServiceArizona.com that will show the new expiration date. Duplicate credentials may not be ordered in an MVD office; however Authorized Third Party services may be available.

The extensions are designed for customer convenience and to limit in-person visits to motor vehicle offices.

ADOT to hold virtual public hearing for Tentative Five-Year Construction Program

Comment period for 2021-2025 Tentative Program runs through June 2

As public safety and health continue to be the top priority in these unprecedented times, the Arizona Department of Transportation will hold a virtual public hearing and board meeting Friday, April 17, to continue collecting public comments for the 2021-2025 Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program.

The public hearing and board meeting, beginning at 9 a.m. Friday, will be accessible via telephone and web conference. The agenda and directions for participating are available now on the State Transportation Board website at aztransportationboard.gov(link is external).

Anyone who wishes to make a comment before the board must fill out and submit a comment request form before 8 a.m. Friday, April 17. That form is also available on the board’s website. There will not be an opportunity for members of the public to attend or comment in person.

The 2021-2025 Tentative Five-Year Transportation Facilities Construction Program is the proposed annual update to ADOT’s lineup of all statewide projects. The program allocates funding for preservation, modernization and expansion projects.

The public comment period for the 2021-2025 Tentative Five-Year Program began on March 20 and ends at 5 p.m. Tuesday, June 2. The State Transportation Board will make its final decision in June about what will be in the updated Five-Year Program.

The complete Tentative Program document is available at azdot.gov/tentative5year for review and comment. ADOT welcomes feedback via an online form at azdot.gov/tentative5year(link sends e-mail), by email at fiveyearconstructionprogram@azdot.gov(link sends e-mail) and by phone at 855.712.8530.

The 2021-2025 Tentative Five-Year Program proposes an average of approximately $310 million per year for preservation of bridges and roadways throughout the state highway system. This moves ADOT even closer to its goal of allocating $320 million per year for system preservation. Preservation projects include repaving highways, filling potholes, extending the life cycle of existing pavement and repairing or reconstructing bridges. Approximately 67 percent of all funding allocated to Greater Arizona will be directed to preservation projects from fiscal 2021 to fiscal 2025.

Drivers rely on Arizona’s highway system for their daily commutes, for weekend travel and for the delivery of goods and services to their communities. Keeping that system in good repair and functioning well is all part of ADOT’s focus during the next five years.

ADOT eases truck weight limits for delivery of essential supplies

Covers shipments of medical equipment, safety gear, food, more

Truck on I-10PHOENIX – Governor Ducey and the Arizona Department of Transportation today took action to help ensure critical supplies and goods Arizonans rely on can be transported more easily by temporarily waiving certain commercial vehicles regulations.

Under new guidelines issued by ADOT, commercial trucks with gross weights of up to 90,000 pounds will be allowed to operate without overweight permits, an increase from the current limit of 80,000 pounds. The new guidelines align with federal guidance and will help ensure Arizona’s groceries, pharmacies and medical providers remain fully supplied.

“Today’s common sense action will help ensure that our grocery stores are stocked and that our medical professionals and emergency responders have the equipment they need to stay safe,” Governor Doug Ducey said. “Responding to COVID-19 is an all-hands-on-deck effort, and I’m grateful to the agencies and community partners that have stepped up to bring relief and assistance to Arizonans.”

The temporary weight limits apply to commercial vehicles that are providing direct assistance to COVID-19 relief efforts as outlined in a recent federal emergency declaration. This includes, among other essential items, medical supplies related to the diagnosis and treatment of COVID-19, supplies necessary for community safety and preventing the spread of COVID-19 and food and household items for emergency restocking of stores.

To support truck drivers making hauling critical goods, last week, ADOT temporarily reopened two long-closed rest areas near Flagstaff, Christensen on Interstate 17 and Parks on Interstate 40, exclusively for commercial vehicles, offering parking, portable toilets and handwashing facilities.

ADOT’s Enforcement and Compliance Division officers have implemented the new weight protocol at commercial vehicle ports of entry. Commercial vehicles will continue to be required to comply with state and federal regulations, and officers will continue to conduct safety inspections and issue permits as needed. Ports of entry at state lines and international borders remain open and staffed by ADOT officers and other staff to screen commercial vehicles to ensure the safe flow of commodities and supplies while supporting federal guidelines to keep America’s commerce moving.

For more information about ADOT, please visit azdot.gov.

For the latest updates on COVID-19 in Arizona, please visit azhealth.gov/covid19. For resources and information about Arizona’s response to COVID-19, visit ArizonaTogether.org.

News from ADOT Motor Vehicle Division

On October 1, 2020 new federal ID regulations will take effect at TSA airport security checkpoints.
The new federal rules will require air travelers to have a federally-compliant form of ID in order to pass security clearance.
Arizonans have a choice to get the Travel ID. This credential is a driver license or ID that has a gold star on the top right-hand corner, and getting one is perhaps the most convenient solution.
In order to get one, you can make an appointment at www.servicearizona.com for any MVD office. Walk-ins are also welcome. Or you may visit an Authorized Third Party driver license location.
To learn more about the documents you need to bring, please visit www.aztravelid.com

ADOT partners with Hopi Tribe on commercial vehicle safety inspections

Officers using mobile ports to check semis driving through reservation
PHOENIX – To enhance safety on state highways, the Arizona Department of Transportation’s Enforcement and Compliance Division partnered with the Hopi Tribe to set up a mobile commercial vehicle inspection site on the reservation.

Concerned that overweight semi trailers and those in violation of safety regulations may be using state roads that pass through the Hopi reservation to evade commercial ports of entry, the tribal government reached out to ADOT for assistance. ADOT sent officers to set up a mobile inspection site along State Route 264 near the junction with State Route 87, while officers patrolled other parts of SR 264, SR 87 and Indian Route 2 to ensure that commercial vehicles weren’t evading the mobile inspection site. Continue reading»