Pinal County was again third in the state in traffic collisions, injuries and fatalities in 2019, according to the annual Arizona Motor Vehicle Crash Facts report.

There were 4,357 highway accidents reported in Pinal County, a drop of 11 compared to 2018. Of the state’s 129,750 crashes, 75% were in Maricopa County. The next closest was Pima County with 8% of the collisions.

Arizona gained about 70,000 drivers, and the number of crashes rose accordingly. But the number of fatalities resulting from those wrecks was down. In fact, the total number of crash-related fatalities, 982, was at its lowest in three years.

The Arizona Department of Transportation produces the annual Motor Vehicle Crash Facts Report, which is a compilation of traffic crash reports provided by law enforcement agencies around the state. The report reflects crash data for all Arizona roadways, including city streets, county roads, reservation roads and state highways.

Pinal County, according to the report, had 1,969 crash-related injuries in 2019 and 69 deaths. Both those totals are down from 2018, when there were 2,009 injuries and 72 deaths.

While the total number of Arizona fatalities decreased, the total number of crashes in Arizona rose by 1.6% from 2018 to 2019. In the same timespan, Arizona saw the total number of licensed drivers increase by 1.3% to 5.38 million.

Driver behavior is a factor in more than 90% of collisions. Around 32% involved speeding. The good news is the reported decrease in impaired driving, distracted driving and the number of people not wearing seatbelts.

ADOT reported nine in 10 Arizonans buckle up, but more than a quarter of all those killed every year on our roads aren’t wearing seat belts.

The report shows that at least 10,491 drivers involved in collisions during 2019 engaged in “distracted driving behavior.” This is an 11.8% decrease from 2018, when the figure was 11,898. In April 2019, when Gov. Doug Ducey signed HB 2318, it became illegal for drivers to talk or text on a cellphone while driving unless the device is in a hands-free mode.

And, while the number of traffic collisions involving motorcycles and bicycles continued a downward trend, the number of fatalities caused by those collisions rose in 2019.