A recent published study pointed out that 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 car and truck crashes. In 2010, that number of auto accident fatalities went down to just more than 560. Last year there was another decline with 473 fatal accidents in Arkansas.
There are many reasons for this decline. These include increased seat belt use, driver education, increase in safety technology, decrease in DWI accidents and a recent change in Arkansas driving law. The study pointed out that the Graduated Driver License (GDL) law was expanded for Arkansas teens in 2009 to help provide a safe environment for young automobile drivers by placing restrictions on when and with whom they may drive. The Arkansas law was designed to allow teens to gain driving experience through the use of restrictions. The Arkansas driving law provides for teen driver’s licenses in three levels: learner’s license, intermediate license and unrestricted/regular license. The different levels allows drivers a staged learning progression. The study found “that significant reductions in crashes and crash-related fatalities were found. This is especially true for the youngest drivers who obtained their intermediate license to drive for the first time without an adult.”
My own law practice involving personal injury cases has seen this decline in teen accidents as well. Car accidents involving young persons can be some of the more difficult cases to handle since kids are involved. However, as the study found, car accident rates and fatality rates are going down for this set of drivers and we should all encourage young people to take part in driving education courses. Teenage driving is one of the exciting milestones in a child’s life and making sure they are safe is paramount.