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2020: Worldwide Pandemic Increases Traffic Fatalities in Arizona

December 16, 2021 Legal Team

2020 Arizona Car Crash Statistics brought to you by Hastings & Hastings P.C. The Discount Accident Lawyers

2020 is a year that everyone would like to put in the rearview mirror, and for good reason.  In addition to the world temporarily shutting down, the pandemic has also resulted in the highest number of traffic fatalities the Valley has seen since 2007.

According to the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT), the state’s total crashes for 2020 were reduced by 24% from 2019. Unfortunately, the total fatalities increased by nearly 8%.

Lovers take caution. In Arizona for three years in a row, Valentine’s Day (February 14th) has taken first place for highest number of all crashes in 2018, 2019, and once again in 2020.

The pandemic could have been attributed to fewer crashes as most people stayed home, but the drivers that did venture out took more risks such as increased speeding, improper lane changes, and running red lights.  According to ADOT director John Halikowski, the increased fatal collisions resulted from improper driver behavior.  Our team at Hastings and Hastings can attest to this trend as we have seen more and more serious injuries and the wrongful death of loved ones as the result of others negligence or recklessness.

“Anyone who has driven on the freeways in Phoenix in the last year knows how dangerous they have become. As a native of Arizona, I’ve never seen anything like it. During the height of the pandemic with so many people working from home, the roads emptied out and the risky driving increased, especially speeding. In those dangerous settings, especially involving high rates of speed, even the smallest error can be catastrophic or even fatal,” says attorney Kate Hastings Winterland.

As a driver in Arizona, it is imperative to be careful and follow all traffic laws. In this comprehensive guide of 2020 Arizona car crash statistics, you shall have insights on what to pay attention to when on the road.

You will also learn various causes of car crashes and their effects from previous years to 2020. As a result, you could avoid them and become a better defensive driver. Here is an insight into Arizona car crashes in 2020.

Data on Arizona’s Spiked Traffic Deaths in 2020

According to Arizona’s 2020 Motor Vehicle Crash Facts, the total number of car crash deaths was 980 in 2019. The number increased to 1,057 in 2020. Those that happened due to drunk or intoxicated driving was 181. When comparing it to 2019, the total number decreased from 258.

In the urban areas of Arizona, the total number of car crash fatalities was 624 in 2020. In 2019, the deaths were 583, recording an increase. It was the same case with the rural fatalities. In 2019, 397 people died in car crashes, compared to 433 in 2020. That’s an alarming 9% increase.

Fatalities also befell pedestrians and pedal cyclists. When comparing the total number with 2019, there was an increase in 2020. Pedal cyclist deaths increased by 10% in 2020, while pedestrians fatalities increased by 7.8%.

For every 100 million VMT, the fatalities increased by 15.60% in 2020. But why?

Reasons for Increased Car Crash Fatalities in 2020

When cars are few on the road, drivers may drive with less care. They may take shortcuts or drive fast. Others disregard traffic rules, such as driving through the traffic lights when supposed to stop.

Arizona State University’s assistant professor, Sian Mughan, says that this could be the main reason 2020 experienced more deaths than the previous year. Drivers love engaging in risky behaviors when less traffic is on the road.

According to a report from azcentral, that’s why most fatal car crashes happened during the night in Arizona. Additionally, with the pandemic and budget cuts, law enforcement was not as present on the roads in 2020 as previous years.

In 2020, the pandemic forced people to stay at home and keep their distance: another factor that reduced the law enforcement on the roads, paving the way for careless driving. As a result, many people drove carelessly and caused unnecessary injuries, or even death, to innocent victims.

Also, according to Gutier, who works as a director of Highway Safety in Arizona’s Governor Office, officers who patrol roads decreased in 2020. Many of them resigned for other careers or retired. The deficit may have led to a rise in drivers behaving carelessly.

So far, the fatal figures in 2021 are high. Gutier predicts that these numbers may increase this holiday season as many people may travel to places they couldn’t last year because of the pandemic.

Other Crash Facts

Apart from deaths, car crashes in Arizona have resulted in multiple injuries. Fortunately, according to 2020 Arizona car crash statistics on injuries, the total number went down by 23.54%.

Those injured due to alcohol intake while driving decreased by 4.53% from 2019 to 2020. Injuries in the urban areas were 35,155. In 2019, the total injuries were 47,000, recording a drastic decrease of 25.20%

In the rural areas, Arizona car crash injuries totaled 7,080 in total. The number decreased by 12.50% in 2020. Passenger and motorcycle operator injuries reduced by 14.62% in 2020.

The total number of pedestrian injuries was 1,716 in 2019. The number went down to 1,351 in 2020.

But the pedal cyclist injuries decreased most in 2020. They were 1,262 in 2019 and 812 in 2020.


According to the above 2020 Arizona car crash statistics, total fatalities increased from the previous year. The injuries brought by car crashes reduced in all categories in 2020 but are still high.

The best way to avoid car crashes is to always be a responsible driver. Obey all the traffic rules and road sign warnings, and adhere to safe driving practices at all times.

However, we know that the unthinkable happens and no one plan to be in an accident.  If you’ve been injured in an accident that wasn’t your fault, call Hastings and Hastings P.C. today. An experienced Arizona accident law firm knows how to get you every dollar you deserve if you’ve been injured. At Hastings and Hastings, we have been serving Arizona for over 40 years, representing injured victims and battling the insurance companies to make sure you get all the compensation you deserve.  At the end of your case, our discount fee puts more money in YOUR pocket, allowing you to take care of what matters most: your health and your loved ones. If you’ve been injured, don’t wait, call today at 480-706-1100.