Number of fatal accidents in Washington decreasing - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Number of fatal accidents in Washington decreasing

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KENNEWICK, Wash.--  The number of traffic fatalities is decreasing.  New numbers released by Washington State Patrol, the Department of Transportation, and Washington Traffic Safety Commission shows it's at the lowest level since 1955.

You may have heard the phrase "Target Zero."  It's the goal of having no fatal accidents by the year 2030.  The new numbers show we're getting closer to that, but still have a long way to go.

Preliminary numbers show 522 fatal accidents in 2008; that's the lowest since 461 in 1955.  It's also a huge improvement since 1990 when there were 825 fatalities.  So far this year, there have been 335 fatal accidents.

Leaders partially attribute this drop to more people buckling up.  In fact, Washington has the third highest seat belt use rate in the U.S.  Troopers, DOT, and safety workers will focus on three things to get towards Target Zero: education, engineering, and emergency medical services.