Cutting Crashes

Accidents on the decline — but not for two friends on Sunday

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Two Valley friends escaped serious injury Sunday when their vehicle rolled on Highway 87 north of Strawberry.

The latest Rim Country crash demonstrated that despite an overall decline in accidents, the region’s winding, curvy roads remain dangerous for speeding drivers.

The women were traveling south down the Mogollon Rim when the driver reportedly lost control of a Nissan Altima in a curve.

The vehicle hit an embankment, rolled and landed in the southbound lanes, said Sgt. Erik Axlund with the Department of Public Safety.

The driver was likely going too fast for the winding road, he said.

Last year, speeding was the second most likely cause of an accident in the state, attributable for roughly 33,000 wrecks, according to data from the Arizona Department of Transportation.

In Sunday’s accident, both driver and passenger crawled out of the overturned vehicle, but the driver required medical attention for non-life-threatening injuries, Axlund said.

Crash Facts

• 103,176 total crashes in 2012, down half a percent from

2011.

• One person died in a car crash every 11 hours.

• One-third of all crashes involved injuries.

• Pedestrian deaths dropped 14% to 132.

• 72.5 percent of all crashes occurred during daylight hours

(6 a.m. to 6 p.m.).

• Alcohol-related deaths decreased by 2% to 287.

source: adot

The vehicle blocked traffic for roughly an hour, until about 4 p.m.

While accidents still occur on a regular basis in Rim Country, ADOT has reported a slight decrease in wrecks statewide.

Last year, the number of crashes and vehicle-related deaths went down both statewide and in Gila County.

Gila County had 761 vehicle crashes last year, including 122 in the Payson area.

Countywide, vehicle accidents claimed 18 lives in 2012, one less than 2011.

While vehicle accidents are on a slight decline, motorcycle-related fatalities remain a growing problem.

Last year, motorcycle fatalities increased by more than 5 percent statewide, according to ADOT.

In Rim Country, two motorcycle fatalities took place in May alone.

Overall, ADOT’s report shows 139 motorcycle riders or passengers were killed last year, an increase of 5.3 percent when compared to 132 motorcycle-related deaths across the state in 2011.

“One area sure to receive even more attention in the coming year is motorcycle safety,” said ADOT Director John Halikowsk. “We urge all motorcyclists to seriously consider safety-training courses and remind all drivers to increase their awareness when sharing the road with motorcycle riders.”

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