Traffic Fatalities

Arizona sees 1,057 traffic fatalities despite sharp decline in total crashes in 2020
Fatalities rose to 12-year high despite fewer motorists on roads during pandemic

Crash data graphicPHOENIX – With noticeable reductions in traffic volume during parts of 2020 due to the pandemic, the total number of crashes on all Arizona roadways fell sharply. Despite that, the number of traffic fatalities rose to their highest levels in 12 years, according to the most recent Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report published Thursday, July 29.

The number of those killed in traffic collisions rose from 980 in 2019 to 1,057 in 2020, while the total number of traffic crashes came in under 100,000 for the first time since 1993. The report also shows that Arizonans traveled an estimated nearly 5 billion fewer miles in 2020 – a 7% decrease from 2019.

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.

The 2020 report shows a decline across all categories in terms of number of crashes and injuries as one might expect from a year where travel was reduced and remote working and learning increased. However, the majority of the categories that track fatalities showed an increase, including deaths from speed-related crashes and lane-departure crashes and deaths from those not wearing seatbelts.

The rise in traffic fatalities last year illustrates that real change must begin in the driver’s seat as driver behavior is a major factor in traffic collisions.

Reducing crashes, fatalities and injuries can’t be solved by state agencies alone because more than two-thirds of crashes occur on roads other than state highways.

Two categories that saw fewer fatalities in 2020 than 2019 were alcohol-related and motorcycle-related crashes. Alcohol-related fatalities continued the trend over the last few years, declining to 181 deaths in 2020 compared to 258 in 2019 – a 30% decrease. Alcohol-related fatalities decreased by 21% from 2017 to 2019. Motorcycle-related fatalities saw a decrease from 170 deaths in 2019 to 160 in 2020.

The 2020 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report is available at azdot.gov/CrashFacts.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

2021 ADOT Safety Message Contest winners!

First published by ADOT
By John Halikowski / ADOT Director

“Life is a highway” is the title of the popular song sung by both Tom Cochrane and Rascal Flatts. It also is the first line in one of two winning messages in the Arizona Department of Transportation’s annual Safety Message Contest. Here is the full message:

Life is a Highway sign

This is a clever and poignant message about the life-saving importance of wearing a seatbelt in a vehicle, whether you are the driver or passenger.

Now in its fifth year, ADOT’s annual Safety Message Contest allows the public to be a part of our communication efforts, to remind everyone to be responsible drivers behind the wheel. It’s a creative public engagement idea that I value and appreciate, and it always generates excitement!

For this year’s contest, we had more than 2,400 entries. The public voted on the top 10 finalists, with 6,000 votes to identify the top two entries. We have had more than 18,000 entries since the contest began in 2016. Thank you to those of you who entered the contest and for voting.

The other winning entry is a reminder to not panic if you miss an exit:

Miss your exit sign

 

Life is indeed a highway. Always wear your seatbelt and don’t panic if you miss an exit!


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

It’s Operation Safe Driver Week

First published by CVSA

Photo property of CVSA

Greenbelt, Maryland (July 11, 2021) – Today is the start of Operation Safe Driver Week, a safe-driving awareness, outreach and enforcement campaign aimed at reducing crashes through interventions between law enforcement officials and unsafe drivers.

Throughout the week, law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for passenger vehicle drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers engaging in dangerous driving behaviors, such as speeding and distracted driving. Identified unsafe drivers will be issued a warning or citation.

Roadway fatalities increased 24% in 2020 over the previous 12-month period, despite miles driven decreasing 13% due to the pandemic. Furthermore, studies have shown that most crashes are caused by drivers’ actions – either something they did, such as speeding, or didn’t do, such as not paying attention to the driving task. Research has also shown that interactions with law enforcement change drivers’ behaviors.

“We know that roadway fatalities and crashes have increased, we know that drivers’ actions are often the cause of crashes, and we know that after a person is pulled over and warned or cited by a member of law enforcement, that person’s driving actions improve,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “We took what we know about causes of crashes and interventions to reduce the number of crashes, and made that into an actionable and measurable traffic enforcement safety initiative – Operation Safe Driver Week.”

Operation Safe Driver Week is the law enforcement community’s effort to reduce the number of crashes involving passenger vehicles and commercial motor vehicles by intervening in unsafe driving behaviors when they happen and warning or citing unsafe drivers in an effort to improve drivers’ behaviors.

During Operation Safe Driver Week, enforcement officers will be tracking their interactions with passenger vehicle drivers and commercial motor vehicle drivers and will submit a report to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) at the conclusion of the week. CVSA will publicly report its findings in the fall.

CVSA’s Operation Safe Driver program was created to improve the behavior of all drivers operating in an unsafe manner – either in or around commercial motor vehicles – through educational and traffic enforcement strategies.

Operation Safe Driver Week is sponsored by CVSA, in partnership with the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Mexico’s Ministry of Communications and Transportation and its National Guard, and with support from the motor carrier industry and transportation safety organizations.

To find out about Operation Safe Driver Week enforcement events in your area, contact the agency or department responsible for overseeing commercial motor vehicle safety in your area.


McCraren Compliance can help you understand and comply with FMCSA, DOT and ADOT and ensure your drivers and your vehicles operate safely and efficiently.

Call us Today at 888-758-4757 or email us at info@mccrarencompliance.com to schedule your free FMCSA Compliance Assessment.

Wildfire season

First published by ADOT.

Wildfire season is one more reason for drivers to use extra care

Don’t let your vehicle be the cause of a wildfire
As warm, dry weather settles into our state, the Arizona Department of Transportation is urging drivers to use extra care with their vehicles to reduce the chance of igniting a wildfire.

Motorists should take preventative measures to reduce the risk that a spark from a vehicle or trailer doesn’t result in dry vegetation catching fire. A few tips include:

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  • Dragging chains while something is being towed can cause sparks; Check and fasten the chains before starting your trip.
  • Make sure nothing is hanging under your vehicle or dragging on the pavement.
  • Check tire pressure before traveling. If a tire is with less air pressure, the tire can cause sparks.
  • Do not park where there is tall grass since the heat from the bottom of the vehicle can cause a fire.

In some areas of the state, ADOT overhead message boards will carry wildfire safety reminders with some listing AM radio frequencies that offer more localized wildfire information.

Work Zone Safety

First published by  ADOT.

Work zone risks for highway crews and you: the danger is real

ADOT marking National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 26-30)

PHOENIX – Most of us couldn’t imagine being on the job with speeding cars and trucks just feet away zooming past our desk, cubicle or other place of business.Work Zone Awareness

But every day, highway construction and maintenance crews across Arizona face just such potentially dangerous scenarios, especially when many drivers don’t slow down or pay attention in work zones. Sadly, drivers and passengers are even more likely to be killed or seriously injured in work zone crashes.

The Arizona Department of Transportation has joined other safety agencies across the country in promoting National Work Zone Awareness Week (April 26-30) to focus attention on the need for drivers to stay alert, recognize they’re entering an area where construction or other workers could be at risk and to embrace life saving actions that include slowing down.

A number of ADOT’s electronic signs along state highways and freeways are displaying safety messages this week, including “Safe Drivers, Safe Workers, Safe Work Zones” and “Give ‘Em A Brake, Stay Alert in Work Zones.”

A check of law enforcement agency reports shows that since 2016 more than 60 people have died in work zone-related crashes along all roads in Arizona, including local streets and state highways. An ADOT employee, Frank Dorizio, lost his life last year when he was struck by a vehicle while setting up a work zone sign along Interstate 10 near Casa Grande.

National statistics over time have shown that 4 out of 5 victims of work zone crashes were drivers or their passengers. Arizona work zone crash statistics from law enforcement reports over the past five years include the following:

  • 2016: 7 fatalities, 28 serious injuries
  • 2017: 18 fatalities, 31 serious injuries
  • 2018: 17 fatalities, 23 serious injuries
  • 2019: 15 fatalities, 22 serious injuries
  • 2020: 9 fatalities, 23 serious injuries **
  • ** – preliminary – all 2020 crash reports not yet analyzed.

“We partner with our contractors to deploy safe work zone measures within our projects,” said ADOT Central District Administrator Randy Everett. “That includes temporary concrete barrier walls to protect construction crews. However, you can’t prevent all exposures to traffic, especially when short-term maintenance work such as pavement repair is happening. We need drivers to stay alert for workers and equipment. We want everyone to arrive safely home.”

The theme for this year’s National Work Zone Awareness Week is “Drive Safe. Work Safe. Save Lives.” The annual safety event has been held across the country since 2000.


McCraren Compliance offers many opportunities in safety training to help circumvent accidents. Please take a moment to visit our calendar of classes to see what we can do to help your safety measures from training to consulting.

Operation Safe Driver Week slated for July 12-18

osd.jpg
Photo: Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

Greenbelt, MD — Law enforcement officers are expected to keep an extra sharp watch for commercial and passenger vehicle drivers engaging in unsafe behaviors July 12-18 during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual Operation Safe Driver Week.

Officers will be looking for drivers who are texting, following too closely, not wearing seat belts or maneuvering in otherwise unsafe manners, while placing added emphasis on speeding.

A May 12 CVSA press release cites recent findings from the Governors Highway Safety Association showing that state highway officials nationwide “are seeing a severe spike in speeding” as traffic volume has decreased as a result of quarantines and stay-at-home orders related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Preliminary estimates from the National Safety Council show that, in March, the rate of motor vehicle deaths in the United States was 14% higher than in March 2019 despite fewer drivers being on the road.

CMV and passenger vehicle drivers in North America received nearly 47,000 citations and around 88,000 warnings during last year’s Operation Safe Driver Week, per data collected from law enforcement personnel. Citations and warnings related to speeding were most common, with CMV drivers receiving 1,454 citations and 2,126 warnings, and passenger vehicle drivers receiving 16,102 citations and 21,001 warnings.

“It’s essential that this enforcement initiative, which focuses on identifying and deterring unsafe driving behaviors such as speeding, go on as scheduled,” CVSA President John Samis said in the release. “As passenger vehicle drivers are limiting their travel to necessary trips and many [CMV] drivers are busy transporting vital goods to stores, it’s more important than ever to monitor our roadways for safe transport.”

FMCSA seeks to close ‘loophole’ that lets CMV drivers who fail drug, alcohol tests get licenses

failed-drug-test.jpg

Photo: KLH49/iStockphoto

Washington — The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is seeking input on a proposed rule that would ban states from issuing commercial driver’s licenses to operators with existing drug or alcohol violations, in an effort to eliminate a “regulatory loophole.”

The proposed rule, published in the April 28 Federal Register, also would prohibit state driver’s licensing agencies from renewing, upgrading and transferring CDLs for those operators.

FMCSA contends that although its online Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse – fully implemented in January – provides real-time national data on commercial motor vehicle drivers who have failed drug and alcohol tests, most states remain unaware that the violations have occurred.

“Consequently, there is no federal requirement that SDLAs take any action on the license of drivers subject to that prohibition,” FMCSA states. “As a result, a driver can continue to hold a valid [commercial learner’s permit] or CDL, even while prohibited from operating a CMV under FMCSA’s drug and alcohol regulations.”

Provisions of the clearinghouse require employers and medical review officers to report information about drivers who test positive for drugs or alcohol, or who refuse to comply with testing. Substance misuse professionals must report information about drivers who participate in the return-to-duty drug and alcohol rehabilitation process.

The proposal outlines two possible methods for determining the process by which SDLAs would access driver-specific information from the clearinghouse:

  • Require SDLAs to initiate a mandatory downgrade of the CLP and CDL driving privilege. Drivers would be required to complete the [return-to-duty] process and comply with any state-established procedures for reinstatement of the CMV driving privilege.
  • Provide SDLAs with optional notice of a driver’s prohibited status from the clearinghouse. The states would decide whether and how they would use the information under state law and policy to prevent a driver from operating a CMV.

Under the second alternative, SDLAs could choose to receive “push notifications” from the clearinghouse when drivers licensed in their state are prohibited from operating CMVs because of violations of drug or alcohol regulations.

Comments on the proposed rule are due June 29.

Managing transportation worker distraction amid COVID-19: NSC hosts webinar

trucks.jpg

Photo: WendellandCarolyn/iStockphoto

Itasca, IL — Concerns about the COVID-19 pandemic are creating distractions for many commercial drivers, putting the safety of these essential employees – and others – at risk, Brian Fielkow, CEO of Houston-based Jetco Delivery, said during an April 17 webinar hosted by the National Safety Council.

“Let’s face it, none of us are running right now with perfect clarity like we would’ve been a month or two ago,” Fielkow said during the webinar, which focused on safety in the transportation industry amid the pandemic. “[Transportation workers] are concerned about their health. They’re concerned about their family’s health. Maybe there are family members in poor health that they can’t visit.”

Other concerns include worries about layoffs, leaving home while under stay-at-home orders from respective governors and being assigned routes to COVID-19 hot spots.

“If you think the cellphone is a distraction – and it is – consider the impact of COVID,” Fielkow said. “That’s important because you have to approach your employees as if they’re distracted.”

Leaders and managers need to acknowledge worker concerns and “adjust your style to understand and manage distraction,” he said. “Lead with a firm commitment to safety, but with empathy, too. COVID-19 requires us to change how we lead.”

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration on March 18 expanded a national emergency declaration, granting temporary exemption from federal hours-of-service regulations to commercial motor drivers transporting items intended to help in the COVID-19 relief effort. Fielkow is concerned about the exemption.

“Fatigue doesn’t care if we’re in a crisis or if we’re in normal times,” he said. “I’d be very, very careful about disregarding the hours-of-service rules, even if you’re hauling COVID-related materials, because fatigue is fatigue. Let’s be sure that we’re focused on safety above compliance.”

During this crisis, drivers might need more frequent breaks and more say over assigned routes. “Don’t force work,” Fielkow said. “If an employee is not comfortable with a particular assignment, you can’t force it.”

Fielkow also encouraged employers and managers to check in frequently with drivers about any concerns or questions they might have.

“We’ve done that in our company a couple of times and we’ve gotten great questions,” he said. “Those questions led to discussions and conversations, then an understanding that we can be safe and we can operate with a clear head in the COVID-19 era.”

Fielkow described a situation in which a trusted, reliable employee was having performance issues and making mistakes.

“It may be that they’re distracted,” he said. “What you’ve got to do is diffuse that distraction, stay firm on the safety issues, but put the rule books and discipline forms away. Let’s coach. Let’s call time-out. If we start inundating people with every (safety) rule out there, we’re going to lose our peoples’ minds. We’ve got to narrow the focus to what’s most important.”

Employers must understand that their clients and vendors are most likely following the same best practices when it comes to safety and health as well. To do so, Fielkow said having those conversations can advance the topic.

“You’ve got to be a resource that gathers resources,” he said, noting many industry associations are offering free COVID-19-related resources that can be downloaded and shared with clients and vendors.

Jorge Chavez, a Jetco Delivery driver with more than 15 years of experience, discussed his work delivering essential supplies to grocery stores and other businesses during this time.

“For us as professionals, we have to be extra vigilant and alert – checking our mirrors, increasing our following distance, because people could be scared,” Chavez said. “They could be distracted.”

To ensure his own safety, Chavez said staying connected with news about the pandemic, along with federal and local safety guidance updates, has been critical.

“I’m also reading all emails from my company, making sure we’re on the same page,” he said.

PSP MCMIS Data Update

The FMCSA Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) Website has been updated with the April 24, 2020 snapshot from the Motor Carrier Management Information System (MCMIS).  The term “snapshot” refers to data captured from the MCMIS database as it appears on a particular date.

Request Reports Today

You may request a prospective driver’s latest PSP data at: https://www.psp.fmcsa.dot.gov.

PSP records include a 5-year crash and 3-year inspection history for commercial drivers.  Account holders may access a PSP record during the hiring process after the driver’s consent has been properly obtained.

CVSA’s New 2020 North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria is Now in Effect

Starting today, April 1, 2020, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 2020 North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria is now in effect. The 2020 out-of-service criteria replaces and supersedes all previous versions.

The North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria (OOSC) is the pass-fail criteria for roadside safety inspections. The purpose of the criteria is to identify critical safety violations. Those violations render the driver, vehicle and/or motor carrier out of service until the condition(s) or violation(s) are corrected or repaired. Read More»