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Less Driving, More Deaths: Fatal Crashes Up In Arizona In 2020

According to new data from the National Safety Council, Americans drove 13% less in 2020 and yet vehicle crash deaths increased by 24% compared to the year before. 

Arizona saw a 9% increase in crash fatalities for 2020. Fewer vehicles on the road could mean people are no longer driving defensively. 

Alberto Gutier, director of the Arizona Governor's Office of Highway Safety, says drivers were more reckless in 2020. 

“People are driving faster, distracted and stop paying attention hoping and thinking that it’s going to be fine to speed,” Gutier said. 

Gutier said speeding makes it harder to stop to avoid a crash. He said drivers still have to maintain a mutual respect between other drivers, motorcyclists, pedestrians and bicyclists. 

The Office of Highway Safety logged more fatalities overall for the state than the National Safety Council data. According to Gutier, Arizona had 1,072 motor vehicle deaths in 2020 which was 92 more than 2019. 

Autriya Maneshni joined KJZZ as an intern in January 2021. She is a sophomore at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University, majoring in journalism with a psychology minor. She moved to Arizona from Iran when she was 9 years old and would listen to KJZZ every morning on her way to school. She is thrilled to be working for the station that means so much to her. Maneshni loves radio and podcasts and decided to pursue both of those passions at Cronkite. She currently hosts an Iranian music radio show called “Foreign Fusion” on Blaze Radio, ASU’s student-run radio station. She made podcasts for the State Press, touching on topics of student life and COVID-19. She also wrote several articles for ASU Odyssey, covering everything from news to mental health advice. In her free time, you can find Maneshni making coffee, playing the ukulele and talking to her friends. She also takes pride in her huge Chuck Taylor Converse shoe collection that keeps growing over the years. Maneshni hopes to someday become an anchor for a local radio or television station. She would like to go to graduate school in New York City and also gain field experience there.