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Data Analysis: Overview of Arizona Motor Vehicle Crashes [Part 1 of 2]

Posted on April 1, 2022 in

Even the most cautious drivers are likely to experience a car accident at some point in their life. Factors outside of a motorist’s control, such as weather conditions, reckless behavior by other drivers, and mechanical failures, can easily cause a collision. News 9 reports that the average driver files an auto insurance claim for a collision every 17.9 years. Given the unfortunately likely chances of encountering an accident, we wanted to explore the data on Arizona car crashes in greater detail.

To keep our study concise, we have split it into two sections. This first half of the article explores the ages of drivers involved in wrecks, the type of vehicle involved, the age and gender of passengers killed in crashes, and more. In the second part of this study, we look at crash statistics by Arizona county, nationwide collision statistics, “Buckle Up Arizona,” and accident investigation expenses by state agency.

Arizona Motor Vehicle Accident Resources

To immediately skip to any of the following sections, please click the corresponding link.

Drivers Involved in Crashes by Age
Arizona Crashes & Collisions by Vehicle Type in 2020
Driver & Passenger Injuries & Deaths by Vehicle Type
Passengers Killed by Age & Gender
Fatal Holiday Crash Statistics

Drivers Involved in Crashes by Age

To get a better sense of how and why collisions occur in Arizona, we reviewed 2020 crash data gathered by the Arizona Department of Transportation (AZDOT). Data on crash statistics for 2021 in the state has not yet been peer-reviewed and published as of this article’s writing.

We began by inspecting the ages of drivers involved in Arizona crashes throughout the year. Drivers that were fifteen years old or younger were involved in just 0.17% of accidents. Comparing this to drivers aged 25-34, who were involved in 39,525 collisions, we see that accidents seem to increase as motorists grow older. The number of accidents peaks at the 25-34 age range, before dropping down in each following age range.

Drivers Involved In 2020 Crashes By Age

Arizona Crashes & Collisions by Vehicle Type in 2020

As we reviewed the number of crashes in Arizona categorized by the types of vehicle involved, we noted the high number of passenger cars involved in wrecks. Just under 50% of all collisions involved a passenger car. In contrast, all known tractor truck, wrecker, and “other truck” collisions combined comprised only 5.5% of all accidents. In the chart below, percentages are rounded to the nearest hundredth, so the sum of all accident percentages may deviate slightly from 100.

Motor Vehicle Type Total Number of Crashes Percentage of Total
Passenger Cars 91,116 48.04%
Station Wagons 38,628 20.37%
Pickup Trucks 27,412 14.45%
Vans 3,772 1.99%
Truck Tractor 1,481 0.78%
Concrete Mixer Trucks 28 0.02%
Dump Trucks 133 0.07%
Garbage Trucks 94 0.05%
Tanker Trucks 24 0.01%
Wrecker / Tow Trucks 57 0.03%
Other Trucks 8,896 4.69%
School Bus 48 0.03%
Other Bus 587 0.31%
Motorcycle 2,373 1.25%
All Terrain Vehicle / Cycle 234 0.12%
Golf Carts 62 0.03%
Moped 24 0.01%
Recreational Vehicle 201 0.11%
Motor Home / House Car 53 0.03%
Fire Trucks 39 0.02%
Ambulances 52 0.03%
Other Vehicles 96 0.05%
Vehicle Type Unknown 14,262 7.52%
Totals 189,672 100%

Driver & Passenger Injuries & Deaths by Vehicle Type

Taking a deeper look at accidents by vehicle type in 2020, we were able to discover the number of reported injuries and deaths amongst motorists and passengers. This data includes all crashes that were reported in an Arizona Traffic Crash Report. Passenger car crashes, which made up 48.04% of all collisions, caused 34.32% of driver fatalities in Arizona in 2020. Motorcycle crashes, which came out to only 1.25% of statewide accidents, caused a shocking 25.25% of driver fatalities in the same year.

A likely reason for this high rate of lethal injuries to motorcyclists is that they are offered substantially less protection during a crash. Without the frame of a car, truck, or other vehicle shielding them in the event of a collision, motorcyclists are at risk of serious bodily harm during even a minor accident.

Motor Vehicle Type Drivers Killed Drivers Injured Passengers Killed  Passengers Injured
Passenger Cars 208 15,239 75 4,813
Station Wagons 93 6,170 37 2,389
Pickup Trucks 62 3,416 13 1,209
Vans 10 507 12 213
Truck Tractor 11 90 3 23
Concrete Mixer Trucks 0 3 0 0
Dump Trucks 0 8 0 1
Garbage Trucks 0 4 0 2
Tanker Trucks 0 1 0 0
Wrecker / Tow Trucks 0 5 0 0
Other Trucks 3 699 1 221
School Bus 0 5 0 1
Other Bus 0 35 0 77
Motorcycle 153 1,804 7 117
All Terrain Vehicle 15 108 5 80
Golf Carts 3 44 0 13
Moped 5 17 0 1
Recreational Vehicle 0 26 0 10
Motor Home 2 3 0 2
Fire Trucks 0 3 0 5
Ambulances 0 5 0 3
Other Vehicles 2 27 0 2
 Unknown 39 1,262 30 524
Totals 606 29,481 183 9,706

Passengers Killed by Age & Gender

183 passengers lost their lives in Arizona motor vehicle accidents in 2020. 89 of the crash victims were male, 93 of the passengers were female, and one victim’s gender was not determined. Passengers aged 25-34 suffered the worst casualties in crashes throughout the year, with 31 deaths. Young female passengers suffered more fatal injuries than their male counterparts. 44 female passengers aged 0-24 lost their lives in collisions, compared to 32 male victims in the same age range.

Passengers Killed By Age And Gender, 2020

Fatal Holiday Crash Statistics, 2016-2020

Unfortunately, there is frequently an uptick in traffic collisions and fatalities around major U.S. holidays. An increase in national travel, unfamiliar areas and weather conditions, and a heightened risk of drunk drivers on the road contribute to the seasonal rise in accidents. Using data gathered by the AZDOT, we plotted fatal Arizona accidents by holiday from 2016 through 2020. These fatality statistics are calculated based on crashes occurring from 6:00 p.m. the last workday prior to the holiday through 5:59 a.m. the day following the holiday. As an example, 2020 Labor Day fatality statistics are calculated from 6:00 p.m. on 9/4/2020 through 5:59 a.m. of 9/8/2020.

Fatal Accidents By Holiday, 2016-2020

Sources Cited

https://azdot.gov/sites/default/files/media/2021/07/2020-crash-facts.pdf
https://www.nhtsa.gov/sites/nhtsa.gov/files/documents/az_fy2020_ar_1.pdf