Number of traffic accidents in Pike County continue to decline

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By Hillary Thornton | 

PIKEVILLE, Ky. (WYMT) - Officials say roads in one Eastern Kentucky county continue to become safer.

Traffic officials say there is no magic trick for reducing accidents, but say it takes a combination of efforts between various agencies and the public.

Due to one group's efforts, positive results are being seen.

For the second year in a row, officials say the number of traffic crashes is down in Pike County.

On Monday, highway safety team members looked over the latest numbers and also discussed options for prosecuting after fatal accidents.

Officials say the team is now discussing any need for changes to the current laws.

The Pike County Highway Safety Team formed a couple of years ago when they say statistics were alarming.

Team Coordinator, Sara George says, "Dismal records of traffic accidents, fatlities, injuries, and property damage crashes."

Team members say as Pike County continues to grow, this is a quality of life issue rather than simply a safety issue.

While proudly working to attract new businesses, and recruit folks to work at them, and attend their schools...they say highway safety was always a negative for their town.

George says, "A few years ago when asked the question we'd have to say but this is the most dangerous county in the state if your'e on the highways...that is embarassing...well it is more than embarrassing."

However, since the team started their 'Drive Down' campaign with East Kentucky Broadcasting those numbers continue to decline.

In fact, the difference between 2011 which was before the campaign and 433 fewer crashes.

George says, "People in Pike County are driving much safer than they had been two years ago."

Improvements in all categories including fatal accidents, which team members learned more about prosecuting..from reckless homicide, to manslaughter, to even murder charges.

Kentucky's Traffic Safety Resource Prosecutor, Bob Stokes says, "There is no bright line rule, because we do not have a statute that specifically says 'You do this and you will be charged with murder'. It just depends on that circumstance and each case is looked at separately."

Officials say team members will now look at what they learned alongside the types of accidents the commonly deal with.

George says, "If our local prosecutors and law enfocement feel they need something else, a vehicular homicide law that is more specific, then as a team we'd be happy to advocate for that."

All in hopes that their roads keep getting safer.

Statewide there were more than 100 fewer fatalities in 2013 than the previous year.

Officials say at this point statewide, there are about 10 fewer fatalities than this time last they are hopeful the trend will continue.

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