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Ordinance causes decrease in accidents

By Staff
Melissa Cason
It's been about a year since Russellville's unlicensed driver ordinance took affect, and local wrecker companies say they can see a difference in major accidents inside the city limits.
Jeff Murray with M &N Wrecker Service said he has seen a drastic decrease in serious accidents since the ordinance took affect, and he thinks the decrease is directly related.
"We're not towing as many major accidents in the city limits, and I think it's because of the ordinance and the motorcycle," Murray said.
The motorcycle Murray was referring to is the one driven by Sgt. Scott King. However, King has not been working the streets on the motorcycle for several weeks because of the department's shortage of patrol officers.
Police Chief Chris Hargett said the King is working a regular patrol shift, but the situation is not permanent.
According to police records, the department towed 628 vehicles because of driver license violations through Dec. 29.
Dispatch reports show that officers responded to 503 accidents from Jan.1 through Dec. 29, while numbers for 2007 were slightly lower.
"These are numbers where some called into dispatch and said there was an accident," Capt. Shannon Oliver said. "Not all of these calls were accidents where reports were filed."
Oliver said another thing to consider is the recent icy weather. The department responded to 15 accidents on Dec. 23, but only nine of those accidents ended with a report being filed.
Hargett said the department only worked one traffic fatality, and one traffic related fatality that involved a pedestrian this year.
Murray said he felt the ordinance is a good thing because of the lower numbers of major accidents.
"I think it's helped," Murray said. "I think the ordinance is a good thing."