The number of people killed on Arkansas roads appears to be decreasing, despite an increase in total crashes.
For 2014, the most recent year available, the state saw 60,947 total crashes, representing an increase of 4.3 percent over 2013. In addition, the state reported a total of 436 fatal crashes for the year — a decrease of 5.4 percent over the previous year. Those fatal crashes killed 470 people, down by 5.8 percent over 2013.
The decrease in fatal crashes was even more impressive considering that total travel — 34 billion vehicle miles — was up by 1.5 percent over 2013.
A Positive Trend
The rate of fatalities and fatal crashes on Arkansas roads generally has been on the decline since 2005, with a few blips along the way. In 2005, the statewide fatality number stood at 654, compared to 560, 499 and 470 in 2012 through 2014.
The fatality rate — defined as the number of fatalities per 100 million vehicle miles — declined from 2.1 in 2005 and 2006 to 1.7, 1.5 and 1.4 in 2012 through 2014.
Fatal Car Accident Statistics by Age
Between 2010 and 2014, the highest fatality numbers consistently occurred among adults ages 21 to 30. Among those 21 to 25 years old, fatalities declined from 81 in 2010 to 48 in 2014. Among 26- to 30-year-olds, the number of fatalities dropped from 64 in 2010 to 36 in 2014.
Despite the decrease, those age groups still represented 84 of the 470 total fatalities — nearly 18 percent — for 2014. In total, young adults between the ages of 16 and 35 accounted for 34 percent of all traffic deaths in 2014.
Fatalities among young children ages 0 through 5 have increased slightly, from five in 2010 to eight in 2014. At the same time, deaths among children ages 6 to 10 decreased for the period, from seven in 2010 to one in 2014.
Crashes in Arkansas Cities
The Arkansas State Police report statistics including total crashes, fatalities and injuries for the state’s 20 largest cities. By far, Little Rock saw the highest number of total crashes for 2014, at 7,335. That total included 27 fatalities and 3,646 injuries for the year.
North Little Rock ranked second with 3,187 crashes, including 16 fatalities and 1,270 injuries. Fort Smith reported 2,997 total crashes that caused seven fatalities and 1,081 injuries.
Fayetteville had 2,807 crashes with six fatalities and 433 injuries, and Jonesboro reported 2,613 crashes with six fatalities and 1,064 injuries.
Fatalities Related to Alcohol and Drug Use
The 10-year trend is positive for alcohol use as a factor in vehicle crash fatalities, state police report. In 2005, 29 percent of fatalities were related to alcohol. In 2014, that percentage had dropped to 23 percent of fatalities related to alcohol.
However, the numbers look less favorable when reported as the percentage of accidents in which both alcohol and drugs played a role. In 2005, fatalities related to drugs and alcohol stood at 38 percent of total crashes. In 2014, the percentage related to drugs and alcohol rose to 44 percent of all accident fatalities, although the total fatalities were down — from 654 to 470. Overall, the state has fewer fatalities and fewer fatalities related to alcohol alone but a higher percentage related to both drugs and alcohol.
Tracking with that trend, Arkansas is doing better than the national average — 23 percent versus 28 percent in 2014 — when it comes to alcohol-related fatalities. However, Arkansas does worse than the national average in fatalities related to both drugs and alcohol: 44 percent versus the national average of 40 percent in 2014.
Good News Overall
In 2014, the number of people who died in crashes on Arkansas roadways decreased by nearly 6 percent over the previous year. That decrease represented a decline from 1.5 to 1.4 fatalities per million vehicle miles traveled in the state.
At the same time, the number of fatalities related to alcohol and drugs increased by 1.5 percent over 2013, showing that work is left to be done in making Arkansas roads safer.
Work with a Car Accident Attorney
Have you or a family member suffered an injury in a crash on Arkansas roads? If you’ve been in an accident due to someone else’s negligence or recklessness, you need legal representation from an experienced personal injury attorney. For a free consultation, please contact the Law Offices of Alan LeVar.