Arkansas groups working together to make roads safer

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Over 500 people died on Arkansas roadways in 2013 according to the Arkansas Highway Safety Office.

Though that number is significantly lower than in years past, a new campaign in Arkansas aims to further drop fatalities in the coming years.

It's a goal that law enforcement officials in Region 8 are behind 100%.

"One of the worst things that we pull up on is fatality accidents...we wish that we'd see zero but in fact, we're gonna see some," Craighead County Sheriff Marty Boyd told Region 8 News.

That's the same mentality behind Arkansas' latest safe driving campaign "Toward Zero Deaths". Though they agree that one death is too many, Arkansas State Police, the Highway and Transportation Department and the Arkansas Health Department want to steadily lower the amount of fatalities in our state through a series of strategies.

Their primary goal is to bring roadway fatalities to 400 or lower by 2017.

One line of defense is through enforcement.

Sheriff Boyd said speed and distracted driving are the largest contributors to the wrecks that they work.

Boyd explained people need to realize how dangerous roadways can be.

"Try to keep your speeds down. Be as cautious as they can and stay away from distractions," Boyd suggested.

Education and engineering will play key factors in lowering fatalities as well. The state plans to continue to install rumble strips and cable median barriers as needed on Arkansas highways and establish educational programs to address the different causes of wrecks.

Even with rates dropping, to reach that 400 or lower goal by 2017, estimates show that numbers must drop even more each year.

With the current trends, fatalities will drop to 427 by 2017.

Regardless, it's a goal that Boyd thinks is attainable.

"With people really paying attention and hard work and trying to put the coverage out there, I think that we can make that number," Boyd said.

For more information on the events, resources and programs that Toward Zero Deaths Arkansas has, go to their website.

Underneath their Safety Plan, you can find information regarding specific strategies they hope to implement to further lower Arkansas fatalities.

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