Phoenix city officials say the large number of accidents involving its fleet vehicles is not surprising given the city's massive fleet of more than 7,800 vehicles. According to the Arizona Republic, City of Phoenix vehicles are involved in at least one accident per day on average.
The newspaper's analysis of liability claims paid by the city in the past five years found that Phoenix paid claims for 2,339 accidents involving police cars, fire trucks, buses and other city vehicles from 2005 to 2009.
That cost taxpayers about $15.7 million, and it means an average of 1.3 accidents take place each day, including weekends.
The city's deputy finance director noted the thousands of transit, police, and fire vehicles that run on the streets 24 hours a day, seven days a week. He added that a fleet's large exposure to liability is common for any public agency with a large fleet.
It is less true for Dallas, which during the same five-year period paid claims for 2,414 accidents, at a total cost of about $5 million. Seattle paid claims for 1,200 accidents, costing about $3.1 million.
But Philadelphia spent about $16.6 million for 960 accidents from 2007 to 2009. Philadelphia officials said their 6,000-vehicle fleet had been involved in 6,881 crashes since 2005.
For Phoenix, the Arizona Republic's analysis found that accidents in which vehicles were in the process of turning proved to be the most costly, totaling about $3.9 million over the five-year period. Failure-to-yield accidents were next at a cost of nearly $3.2 million, followed by rear-end accidents at $3.1 million.
The Public Works Department was responsible for the largest number of incidents: 639. Police were next with 582, followed by Public Transit with 573.
Phoenix-employed drivers are required to pass a training course, and most civilian drivers must brush up on their skills every three to four years.