Traffic deaths are up. Here's how to make Arkansas roads safer
Arkansas is in the middle of the road compared to other states when it comes to enacting laws to make driving safer and reduce traffic deaths.
Why it matters: Action is needed to make roadways safer as traffic deaths climb at record rates despite fewer miles being driven, according to a new report from Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.
Driving the news: Two Arkansas Department of Transportation workers have been killed by vehicles since early December.
- A public safety awareness campaign and increased law enforcement near work zones is planned by ARDOT beginning Feb. 2.
What they did: The report ranks states based on 16 "optimal laws that every state should have as part of a comprehensive safety program."
- Arkansas has enacted just nine of the 16, a middle ground ranking shared with 30 other states.
What we're missing: Per Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety...
- A rear seat belt requirement.
- An all-rider motorcycle helmet law.
- A law requiring rear-facing booster seats for children under 2.
- Stricter permit rules requiring a minimum age of 16 for a learner's permit, 50 hours of supervised driving for teens, and a nighttime driving restriction for teens.
Zoom out: More than 20,000 people died nationally in crashes during the first six months of 2021. The 18% increase from 2020 is the highest half-year percentage increase ever recorded.
- That's about 110 traffic deaths a day.
Zoom in: There were 505 traffic fatalities in Arkansas in 2019, the most recent data available.
- In all, more than 5,300 people in the state have died because of motor vehicle crashes between 2009 and 2019.
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