Rise in traffic fatalities in Little Rock highlights the need for enhanced enforcement measures


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Little Rock, Arkansas – The American Automobile Association (AAA) characterizes the current season as the “100 deadliest days on the road,” signifying an interval where more adolescents are at the steering wheel, thus raising the risk of fatal accidents.

The police department in Little Rock has observed an alarming 43% spike in fatal automobile crashes compared to the previous year.

The task of monitoring traffic patterns and deciding when drivers receive a green signal is a responsibility borne by William Henry, the Traffic Engineer Manager of Little Rock. He commented, “If you’re driving above the speed limit, then you’re going to be stopped more often. If you drive the speed limit, you can generally go through the system nonstop.”

Henry’s team works to program traffic lights within the city with the intention of mitigating accidents, even though it may result in drivers experiencing minor delays. He elaborated on their strategy by saying, “We increase all red times on our arterioles because of all the people running red lights. They have a disregard for the traffic signal.”

While these additional two seconds on the red signal aim to protect pedestrians, it has limited effectiveness, according to Henry.

Kyle Henson, a Little Rock police officer and accident reconstruction specialist, indicated that the main safety concerns boil down to the observance of signals by both motorists and pedestrians. He pointed out that, “About half of our fatal [crashes] right now are pedestrian accidents. You’ve either got pedestrians crossing outside an intersection [or] crossing when it’s dark. There’s no streetlight.”

Acknowledging that traffic enforcement can be hampered by staffing limitations, Henson affirmed, “Unfortunately, traffic enforcement sometimes takes a backseat. Sometimes it has to take a backseat because officers have to take calls for service that take priority.” Nonetheless, Henson, as part of the accident reconstruction team, emphasized their dedication to thorough investigations, including potential charges of negligent homicide manslaughter arising from these cases.

The Little Rock Police Department (LRPD) identified several accident-prone areas, including University Ave, Roosevelt Road, Markham Street, Baseline Road, and Geyer Springs Road. In an attempt to augment traffic enforcement, the LRPD is focusing efforts on these areas, as Henson further elaborated, “We try to keep up as much as we can with where it happens and try to get some selective enforcement in the area.”

Meanwhile, Traffic Engineer Manager Henry cautioned that implementing new traffic control measures, such as stop signs or crosswalks, is not always straightforward. Such decisions necessitate a sufficient volume of vehicular and pedestrian traffic to justify the change.


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