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Sun, Oct. 13

Safe on the streets: car crashes down in Williams

Car crashes in Williams decreased by 15 percent in 2013 from the year before. Railroad Avenue, Route 66 and Grand Canyon Boulevard had the most accidents in 2013. Information from the Arizona Department of Transportation

Car crashes in Williams decreased by 15 percent in 2013 from the year before. Railroad Avenue, Route 66 and Grand Canyon Boulevard had the most accidents in 2013. Information from the Arizona Department of Transportation

WILLIAMS, Ariz. - The total number of car crashes in Williams decreased by about 15 percent last year, from 113 in 2012 to 96 in 2013, according to annual statistics released by the Arizona Department of Transportation (ADOT).

The majority of car crashes in 2013 were property damage only crashes, at 80 crashes. The remaining 16 were injury crashes, with 22 people injured. None of the car crashes in Williams were fatal. Three of the crashes were alcohol related.

Williams Police Department Information Systems Manager Terri Sutton said a lot of accidents tend to happen in the downtown area because there is more traffic concentrated there.

"I think a lot of it might be just inattention because there's so much going on," she said. "One advantage to downtown is at least they're going slow. So if it is a fender bender it's usually not too expensive and it's usually not an injury accident either."

Along the main streets in town, Route 66 saw 46 accidents in 2013, Grand Canyon Boulevard had 17 accidents and Railroad Avenue had eight.

Sutton said snow and ice contribute to numerous accidents in the winter months. Animals also cause several crashes in some areas of town, such as near Echo Canyon Road.

"But that's just mother nature," Sutton said.

However, the majority of the accidents were private property accidents, several of which took place in the Safeway and Grand Canyon Railway parking lots.

Statewide data

The number of deaths in motor-vehicle crashes across the state rose by 2.8 percent in 2013, according to the ADOT report.

An analysis of law enforcement reports on crashes shows 844 people were killed last year on state and local highways and streets, compared to 821 fatalities in 2012. The highest annual number of motor-vehicle crash fatalities in Arizona - 1,301 - occurred in 2006.

ADOT's 2013 Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report lists a total of 107,348 crashes across Arizona in 2013, an increase of 3.3 percent compared to 2012 (103,909 crashes).

"Every driver holds the key to reducing crashes and saving lives," said ADOT Director John Halikowski.

In late 2012, public safety agencies began to update the state's highway safety plan, which was first adopted in 2007.

Fatal-crash categories with increases in 2013 included pedestrian and bicyclist crashes. Last year 158 pedestrians were killed, compared to 131 pedestrian fatalities in 2012 and 154 in 2011. Nearly 10 percent of all crashes involving pedestrians were fatal.

Meanwhile, 30 bicyclists were killed last year, compared to 18 in 2012 and 23 in 2011.

Annual figures also show 149 motorcycle riders or passengers died in Arizona last year, compared to 139 motorcycle-related deaths in 2012 and 132 in 2011.

Alcohol-related fatalities dropped by more than 7 percent last year compared to 2012. In 2013, 262 people were killed in alcohol-related crashes. There were 283 such deaths in 2012 and 287 in 2011.

The total number of reported alcohol-related crashes was down from 5,460 in 2012 to 5,190 in 2013.

As in past years, the most common driver violation cited by law enforcement officers was "speed too fast for conditions."

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