891 die in 2015 on Arizona roads

PHOENIX -- The Arizona Department of Transportation has assembled preliminary numbers of fatalities in motor-vehicle crashes for 2015, and they are up from the previous year.

Although ADOT hasn't received all the data yet, it is already reporting 891 fatalities for last year, surpassing the 773 deaths in 2014.

The data, which goes through September, shows that speeding, impaired driving, and failure to use a seat belt were factors in a third of the crashes resulting in deaths.

"A significant cause of fatal crashes in Arizona, in addition to impairment and failing to use seat belts, is speed, unsafe lane changes and following too close," said Col. Frank Milstead, director of the Arizona Department of Public Safety. "Aggressive driving is a crime and puts everyone on the road at risk. If you see it, report it."

Alberto Gutier, director of the Governor's Office of Highway Safety, said it's especially important for drivers to understand how poor decisions can end in tragedy.

"Alcohol is involved in more than a third of the fatal crashes across the state," Gutier said. "Everyone should be aware of just how devastating impaired driving is in this state, and those who put innocent lives at risk by doing so should be prepared to face the consequences."

The highest annual number of motor-vehicle crash fatalities in Arizona occurred in 2006, with 1,301 on highways and local roads.

More complete information will be available later this year, when ADOT publishes its annual report, "Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts."

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