We are all responsible for driving safely. Yet when crashes occur, in more than 90 percent of cases, they result from irresponsible driver behavior such as speeding, distracted driving, driving while intoxicated, or driving recklessly. This year, Arizona was ranked second in the nation for citations and fines related to street racing and high-speed driving. Arizona had three times the national average of drivers who received a citation for street racing compared to other states. Last year in Phoenix, police received more than 1,000 calls related to this crime and made more than 160 arrests. Even though fewer drivers were on the road last year, traffic fatalities increased across Arizona, and speeding was a contributing factor.
In addition to street racing and high-speed driving, wrong-way drivers are also a threat on our roads. As of May, there have been 16 accidents due to wrong-way drivers, resulting in 12 deaths. In addition, two out of three wrong-way drivers are intoxicated at the time of their crash and often have blood-alcohol levels more than twice the legal limit.
Arizona has strict DUI laws and recently passed a distracted driving law that fines anyone using a cell phone or electronic device while driving. Many do not know that Arizona also has laws related to street racing, road rage, aggressive driving, and criminal speeding that can result in fines, misdemeanor charges, time in jail, and marks on your driver's license. A speeding ticket could affect you much longer than you think, as criminal speeding offenses cannot be removed from your driving record and will impact your car insurance premiums. Additionally, as of April 2021, drivers will receive a $600 fine for street racing or high-speed driving in the City of Phoenix and will have their vehicle impounded for 30 days.
All these accidents are entirely preventable and not worth the risk. Help keep your roads safe this summer by being a responsible driver and considerate of others while on the road.
Concentrate on your driving and avoid all distractions. Pay attention to your surroundings and be prepared for hazards. If you see a sign warning you of a wrong-way driver, move toward the nearest exit as soon as possible.
- Drive the posted speed limit; fewer crashes occur when vehicles travel at a similar speed.
- Always wear a seatbelt and make sure your passengers are wearing one as well.
- Avoid late-night driving between midnight and 3 am, especially on the weekends, when wrong-way and impaired drivers are on the road.
- If you are on the road and see aggressive driving, street racing, or an impaired driver, call 911.
We all play a part in keeping families safe, especially on our roads.