Fewer fatal accidents in Arkansas, Missouri; why?

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - For whatever reasons the number of highway fatalities in both Arkansas and Missouri is showing a decline.

Although we won't probably know the total number of auto accidents till later in the year, the total numbers on fatalities are known.

In 2008 Missouri fatalities were at 960, last year the numbers were 773.

In Arkansas the 2008 numbers were 602. In 2011,they dropped to 544.

But of course that doesn't mean that accidents still don't happen. Tow truck operators see the aftermath of all kinds of accidents. Gary Mask the manager at KEG Towing says in town there are still lots of accidents.

Mask, "I think we see more city-wide fender benders than we do anything normally."

KEG Towing is based out of Jonesboro. They handle regular towing with flat bed wreckers and  heavy towing with 3 super-size heavy wreckers. Gary Mask himself has been in the wrecker business for 20 years. Over that time period he and his co-workers have seen their  fair share of the aftermath of death on the roads.

Mask, "90 percent of the time they will tell us when they dispatch us, they got a fatality or they don't have."

Mask says because they are in rotation from 911 dispatch they don't work every accident or fatality. "But" he does says "Location of the accident has a lot to do with it being a fatality or not."

"I think we see more city-wide fender benders than we do anything. If you have anything like on Wood Springs or 63 or 49 normally it is a pretty rough accident and that's where you see the majority of your fatalities"

Sometimes when you see a wreck you might wonder how any driver or passenger can survive and sometimes even walk away. Mask has been in the towing business for a long time and has seen many changes. I asked him if he thought cars safer now?

Mask, "Yes, airbags, side airbags, break away bumpers and stuff. Yes sir. I think cars are safer, they're not as heavy but they have more safety features." "Speed to plays an important part in accident prevention." he said.  "In our area you see officers working keeping speed down a bit more and I think that plays a big role in it."

But what ever the causes of survival are, it's still good news as the numbers continue to fall.

Both states will release official numbers on total accidents including fatalities later on this year.

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