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Accident Fatalities Decreasing in Arkansas

Over the past 10 years, crash fatalities have decreased by more than 30 percent in the state.
LITTLE ROCK, AR -- In the past 10 years, fatal accidents in the state of Arkansas decreased by more than 30 percent.

In 2004, more than 700 people died in crashes.

In 2010, that number went to just more than 560.

And last year, another decline with 473 fatal accidents in the state.

Working as a Pulaski County Sheriff's Deputy, Lt. Chris Ameling says every day is different and sometimes that can be difficult.

"Just a bunch of people in the car, more than what should've been in there and they ended up losing control of the car, flipping over and a child in the car passed away," Lt. Ameling said, referring to an accident he once worked.

But in the past couple years, Ameling's been working less fatal accidents and provided insight of why this could be possible.

"The increase in seat belt usage by people having to drive because of the change in the law and DWI checkpoints becoming more prevalent across the state," he said.

He also credits education to helping drive down the number of fatality accidents.

For example, the Injury Prevention Center at Arkansas Children's Hospital teaches driving safety to both adults and teens.

Along with explaining how to avoid distractions, instructors follow guidelines from the Graduated Drivers License program for new drivers.

The first six months, an adult must be in the car with the teen.

The next couple years after that, there are other restrictions like no night-time driving or no cellphone use.

If caught doing these things, the teen could be pushed six months back into the program.

"It definitely played a part in driving the fatalities down," said Maurice Long with the Statewide Injury Prevention Program.

There are many more details and statistics on how the Graduated Drivers License program helped reduce fatal accidents among teens.

For that information, click here.

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