State officials unveiled Tuesday a campaign to reduce to zero the number of traffic fatalities on Arkansas roads.
Officials representing the Arkansas State Police, the state Highway and Transportation Department and the Arkansas Department of Health gathered at the state Capitol in Little Rock to announce the Toward Zero Deaths initiative, which is part of a nationwide effort to reduce traffic deaths by using data to pinpoint areas where roads can be improved and by increasing driver education.
"There's not an acceptable number of deaths," state Department of Health Director Nathaniel Smith said. He was joined at the news conference by Highway Director Scott Bennett and Arkansas State Police Director Col. Stan Witt, along with Health Department Section Chief Teresa Belew.
Bennett said that while precautions are already being taken to prevent driver deaths — including rumble strips and median retainer barriers, the AHTD will look into several other ways to cut down on fatalities.
"It's become a national focus," Bennett said.
Witt added that one of the biggest dangers is distracted drivers, something that the ASP will increase enforcement on as the initiative gets put into place.
A 30-second commercial to promote the campaign will begin airing Sunday throughout the state.
Read more about this story in tomorrow's Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.