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What Are the Leading Causes of Fatal Arizona Car Crashes?

Posted on July 27, 2022 in

Motor vehicle accidents are one of the top causes of unintentional injury deaths in Arizona and throughout the United States. According to data from the Arizona Department of Transportation, 1,057 people lost their lives in fatal motor vehicle accidents in 2020. Driver behavior causes more than 90 percent of car accidents. Understanding the leading causes of fatal accidents in Arizona could potentially save your life in a Phoenix car collision.


Speeding can mean exceeding the posted speed limit or driving too fast for conditions. If a road is wet and dark, for instance, a driver may need to reduce his or her speed to below the posted limit to avoid speeding. Speeding is the most common driver violation involved in fatal car accidents in Arizona.

Speeding took 337 lives in Arizona in 2020. Driving too fast can make it impossible for a driver to stop in time to prevent an accident. It can force a driver to swerve or veer off of the road to avoid a crash – often causing an accident. Speeding can result in rear-end collisions, head-on collisions and deadly high-speed accidents.

Operating Under the Influence

Operating under the influence of drugs and alcohol is another deadly driver error. Impaired drivers took 274 lives in 2020. Driving under the influence accounted for 25 percent of all fatal car accidents in Arizona. These fatal traffic accidents can involve impairment by alcohol, illegal drugs, marijuana or prescription medications.

An intoxicated driver cannot make sound decisions behind the wheel. He or she will be more inclined toward reckless driving behaviors that often cause fatal accidents, such as swerving in and out of traffic, speeding, racing, running red lights, and wrong-way driving. Drunk drivers may also fall asleep behind the wheel.

Distracted Driving

Driver distraction has become a larger issue in recent years. According to statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, 3,142 people were killed in distracted driving accidents nationwide in 2020. State data reported at least 39 deaths directly related to distracted driving behaviors in Arizona in 2020, including talking on a cell phone, texting and driving, or eating and drinking. Driver inattention removes a driver’s eyes from the road and/or hands from the wheel. This can delay reaction times and increase the risk of car accidents.

Improper Lane-Keeping  

Another leading cause of fatal Arizona car accidents is improper lane-keeping. A driver is responsible for staying inside of his or her lane at all times except when passing or changing lanes. To change lanes, a driver must reduce his or her speed, check the destination lane to make sure it’s clear, signal the intent to change lanes, and perform the maneuver safely. Weaving between lanes, cutting drivers off and making unsafe merges can lead to sideswipe accidents and serious collisions.

Failing to Obey Traffic Laws

Traffic laws are in place in Arizona to keep drivers safe and separate from one another. It is a driver’s responsibility to know and obey all traffic laws, roadway rules, traffic control devices and traffic signs. Violating any of these rules can result in a preventable fatal car accident. Every year in Arizona, fatal collisions are caused by the following infractions:

  • Ignoring traffic signs and signals
  • Running red lights
  • Rolling through stop signs
  • Making illegal turns and U-turns
  • Failing to yield the right-of-way
  • Improper following (tailgating)
  • Passing where prohibited
  • Illegally driving on the shoulder
  • Illegal lane-splitting

If your family has suffered the tragic loss of a loved one in a fatal car accident in Phoenix, Arizona, help is available. Consult with a Phoenix wrongful death lawyer from Stone Rose Law to discuss your rights and legal options at no cost. We can help you go up against the driver responsible for causing the fatal collision in pursuit of justice and maximum financial compensation.