HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) - According to state accident data from the Center for Public Safety at the University of Alabama, fatal accidents are down 22 percent this year compared to the same time period last year.
State troopers are taking it as a sign that their traffic safety campaigns, Take Back our Highways and Click-it-or-Ticket are working.
One thing troopers say will instantly increase your chances of surviving a fatal accident is buckling your seatbelt.
From January 1 to July 1, 2009 there were 318 accident related deaths worked by Alabama State Troopers.
During the same time period in 2010, that number is down by 71 to 247 deaths.
"We just want you to slow down, change your attitude, change behaviors," said Trooper Spokesman Curtis Summerville. "If we can change your behavior or attitude about driving then we've accomplished our goal."
Summerville says speeding is still the number one cause of fatal accidents in our state, followed by DUI.
But he says hand-held technology is also leading to risky distracted driving.
"Statistically we've shown that you're four times more likely to be involved in a car collision if you are on a cell phone, and that's the exact same as actually driving at a .08 or higher in terms of DUI," he said.
Summerville says texting while driving is even more dangerous than driving under the influence.
"Your chances increase to 8 times more likely to be involved in a car collision, if you're actually texting," he said.
Summerville strongly suggests handing over your phone to a passenger to respond to a call or text, or pulling over to the side of the road.
To date, out of about 200 fatal accidents where seatbelts were available, 57 percent involved people not wearing seatbelts.