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The Prescott Daily Courier | Prescott, Arizona

home : opinions : editorials November 25, 2015

8/19/2012 10:15:00 PM
Editorial: Drivers need to heed rules of road
The Daily Courier

Arizona deserves an F on its driving record report card.

The bad grade isn't so much for its overall performance - which could be much worse. Rather the low grade is because the number of people dying in vehicle crashes rose in 2011 across the state and in Yavapai County for the first time in five years, according to statistics the Arizona Department of Transportation released this past week.

Here is what the ADOT figures tell us about 2011:

• Statewide, 825 people died in 754 fatal crashes - an 8.7 increase from 2010. Fatalities had been on a steady decline since 2006's record 1,301.

• In Yavapai County, 53 people died in 46 fatal crashes in 2011 - a 17 percent jump in deaths from the year before. Rural areas, in particular, saw 436 fatal crashes in 2011, representing a 14.44 percent increase.

• The same ADOT report shows that 1,366 people were hurt in 941 collisions, and more fortunate people survived a total of 3,111 crashes statewide.

• Statewide as well, 265 people lost their lives and 3,660 were hurt in 5,537 alcohol-related crashes, which was a 15.8 percent increase from the year before.

• In Yavapai County, 184 alcohol-related crashes killed 14 people and hurt another 184, which was a 28.5 percent increase from 2011.

Motorcycle accidents in the Prescott area have caused special concern recently, because of the frequency and severity of them. Across the state, 132 motorcycle drivers and passengers died in 130 accidents, an increase of 55 percent over 2011.

As for the most prevalent reasons for these grim statistics, the ADOT 2011 Crash Facts report shows more than a third of the people killed, 292, were not wearing seatbelts and the most common violation was going too fast for road conditions.

If these sad statistics don't preach loudly enough, the safe driving habits are lost on too many people on Arizona's roads.

Look around home and observe: speeding, whipping in and out of traffic, unsafe lane changing, running red lights, following another vehicle too closely, using lanes exiting shopping centers for merging into traffic as passing lanes to get ahead of a stream of cars, puttering along rather than going the speed limit. Name it, and we see it all no matter where we go, but we are more aware of it in our hometown because that's where we drive the most.

Driving is frustrating, irritating and too often deadly.

Vehicles are potential killing machines. But, they needn't be if people would stop abusing the safe rules of the road.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Article comment by: k n

Dear monster mudder:

I hope you ram into me - That's the winning lotto
ticket I've been waiting for my whole life.
Guess who's paying.

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Article comment by: It's clear

that some of the comments here are meant to upset others. In your cases, ignorance must be bliss. I do agree however that you MUST be very aware of the other cars around you while driving on the local streets and highways due to the seemingly high number of reckless or inattentive drivers out there. And yes, sometimes people do have to make split-second driving decisions that are not pretty to avoid a potential accident. The nature of the beast, I guess.

Posted: Wednesday, August 22, 2012
Article comment by: A Tailgater

@ Well A Tailgater. If you have to slam on your brakes in front of me, somebody cut you off or you are not paying attention. More than likely, you won't be stopping short in front of me, you will be stopping short in front of the vehicle that jumped on front of me and that will be the one that hits you.
@ The Rev. I was not trolling. These are just the facts of the roads around here. Daily drives can easily start out calm only to wind up being a stressful ordeal. If you don't believe me, try making the Hwy 69 drive from Prescott to Dewey at 4pm on a weekday. You'll then see what I mean.

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: Monster Mudder

If anybody gets in my way, I will roll right over them with my mile-high monster mudder truck. I do not tolerate slowbums, phonebees, bluehairs or lost souls when headed to my next stop. Word to the wise: Look for my black diesel smoke in the air and pull off to the side. I am headed YOUR way.

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

Do you really feel this way A Tailgater or are you just trolling? If true your life would seem stressful as you frequently intimidate those you feel are lesser while holding lethal force. How do you reconcile such behaviour with the rest of your life? What has it bought you?

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: Well A Tailgater

If you're behind me and I have to stop suddenly guess who's gonna pay to fix my car and medical bills for my painful whiplash? You that's who.

Posted: Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Article comment by: Ron Pauly

Everyone is in to big of a hurry.Stressed i guess.The people who are willing to put their life on the line to pass me when im doing the speed limit,its stupid.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: A Tailgater

I do tailgate the vehicles in front of me (whether they are going slow or fast) due to the fact that if you leave any more than one car length between, some a****** will jump in between. I won't stand for being pushed back. So, look for me closing in on you in your rear view mirror.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Couldn't Resist

Let's summarize:
It is possible to drive safely at 5 yo 7 mph over the posted limit under most circumstances. It's you clods that INSIST on put-putting around all the time that are most frequently the hazard on the road. Then you want to whine and babble about people tailgating you. I never tail-gate, but I despise those of you who think a school zone is 9 or 11 mph and that main streets through town are 28 or 32 mph. Get your butt moving. Don't take it as such a pride thing, instead of what it is, which is a TEAM EFFORT to get everyone where they need to go. You're the same ones who play traffic control tech. on Hwy 69, deliberately getting in the left lane and then going 44 mph. In fact, you're also the same ones who drive slowly through left-turn green arrow signals, leaving several cars to wait unecessarrily for the next light.

I just love the sight of someone who clearly has nowhere important to go and is in no hurry to get there...

I doubt you're the ones who blow through stop signs, That's another type of jerk driver. As are those who tail-gate me even though I'm OBVIOUSLY right behind a put-put driver and can do nothing about it.

Morons who can't use a turn signal and those who take up more than one parking space are others for the list. And let's not forget the people who feel they need to leave 4 car lengths between them and the next car at a stop light. WHAT IF EVERYONE DID THAT? Traffic would be backed up for blocks. Catch a clue people and imagine that you're not the only one on the road.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Jason in PV

I truly believe there would be FAR less confusion on the roads if people would USE THEIR TURN SIGNALS! I'll bet that at least 50% do not use them. They would also be suing you if you hit them because they used the 'point and accelerate' routine in front of you. What a bunch of hicks.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: The Rev

Claims of better/worse traffic are global constants as are most "back where I am froms".

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: William J. M.

This is a very well written article. Two items of importance were omitted. These are drivers who insist on using their cell phones while driving. And what compounds this is that some don't exercise courtesy by moving over to the slower lane of traffic while talking away. This causes frustration and aggravation on the drivers within. Texting is another unsafe practice. We have many safe and concerned drivers within our community of Prescott Valley. Driving is a 100 percent commitment. We all have to be aware of our surroundings, drive defensively and courteously. Also, speed limits here in Prescott Valley are way too slow for roadways such as Robert Road and parts of Glassford Hill Road.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Smell the Roses

"Driving is frustrating, irritating and too often deadly."

Maybe that's why there is a rise in accidents if people are driving with that mindset behind the wheel?

I personally LOVE driving. It's very enjoyable. Gosh, living in Prescott we have to do enough of it to function, minds-well enjoy it. It's pleasant and relaxing and around here, there's always a great view out your window. Be aware of your suroundings-terrain, weather, not jsut cars, but people in the cars...once you get out of your own little rush, rush, world and look around and have a heart, the road is a much safer place.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Miker the Biker

First let me say...I am a registered Republican.
Do ya'll think it's because it's a predominately Republican County where we do not have to live by the rules we ourselves makes and support? Something is wrong in our nation where we need to blame others when we are not doing the things that we stand for--including the Constitution.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Driving Safely?????

Coming from a large city, these country drivers are worse! Can't use common sense or their turn signals. Prescott also has alot of seniors with slower reflex and poor eyesight. Also younger drivers are too aggressive and always in a hurry. Bike riders never heed the traffic rules and ride in the middle of the road or not on a "bike lane" going 5 mph. What's a citizen to do?????

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Gracie xx

A legitimate question, at least regarding the Yavapai County statistics, would be how many of these accidents and fatalities involved vehicles passing through, vs Yavapai County residents? The number of accidents and fatalities may have little or much to do with the drivers of Yavapai County.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: In Arizona if it's not guns, it's cars and pickup trucks.

I am over 65 years old. I have lived in five large cities. Two of them with populations well over five million souls. I have lived in Prescott for over ten years. In no place I have resided have I witnessed so many unsafe, crazy, careless, unapologetic drivers. Or the lack of supervision and punishment of these drivers by our police and sheriff's departments. Passing on the right, cutting others off, road rage, phone use and texting while driving, not observing the speed limit and being proud of it, and running red lights as a general rule. I count to three and look both ways before entering an intersection when the light changes to green here. Carrying unsecured pets and children in the beds of trucks...

I wonder, is it the pervasive 'Don't tread on me' mentality here, or the 'frontier' mindset that still lingers...? Lack of education? Some misplaced macho thing?

Carrying this topic a bit further this town and state haven't a clue how to fix a pot hole. Or clear an accident in less than an hour and a half.

I know I don't have the answer but maybe requiring an actual driver's test every three years and having to re-learn and be tested on the Rules of the Road might help. I doubt it though...

How do you teach manners and care for your family and your fellow man?

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: k k

People in Phoenix are accostumed to the gridlock - Here they are not.
You can not even drive in town any more without some frustrated, angry clown on your tail. Nothing but a big angry parking lot anymore. A shame.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Yukon Jack

A good start would be to raise unrealistic speed limits! When set too low, people ignore them. Prescott Valley is rife with speed limits that are stupid too low. 35MPH instead of 25MPH is much more realistic for collector roads!

Also, a little more safety planning along Hiway 69 is in order too. It may indeed be more inconvenient, but prohibiting left turns from some of the shopping centers makes more safety sense than allowing drivers to cross 2 lanes of heavy traffic!

Traffic Circles, as much as I despise them, would be safer if they were larger!

California (ugh) drivers, are aggressive. So are Arizona drivers. But say hat you will, they are good at it we are NOT! Arizona drivers have a bad habit of trying to "enforce" the law. IE, some of us will diliberately pull out in front of fast moving traffic just to slow it down. STOP THAT! Traffic enforcement is for the police! Let the idiots go by and we'll ALL live longer!

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Tom Steele

With the economy still down and many having left the area, it is disturbing the negatives of traffic accidents is up. hopefully there is a reason somewhere in all those statistics that can be used to lower future fatal accidents.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: There you go again

Isn't it interesting that the Courier is all over automobile drivers but says nothing of bike riders who use the streets. Bicycle riders are not licensed, pay no use taxes, and yet blatantly ignore stop signs, traffic lights and rights of way. Why not do an article on bike riders running roughshod over the rules of the road?

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Walter Sobchak

A fine and well meaning editorial. It's a shame that in this edition alone, there are at least three (haven't read the sports section yet) examples of why using statistics is the most overrated way to tell a story.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: I blame it on.

Lower traffic levels and attentive driving went out the window years ago with the flood of Californians that invaded this once great area. If you don't break the speed limit and drive 55-60 on highway 69, you will have vehicles nearly touching your rear bumper with cars aggressively weaving in and out while on their phones. I blame it on the "me, me, me" mentality of these people.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Double Clutch

Nothing good comes from vehicles, EVER.

Posted: Monday, August 20, 2012
Article comment by: Analysis fails to look at suicide as a possible cause in at least 305 fatalities

Single car accidents in times of personal, social and economic despair.

Looks like we are being set up for a "revenue enhancement" program, with this flawed study used as justification.

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