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Traffic related deaths doubled in Abilene in 2012

Published On: Jan 04 2013 09:51:13 PM CST

ABILENE, Texas -

Police said the number of people who died in traffic accidents in Abilene doubled from 2011 to 2012.

Officers said there are many reasons why fatal traffic accidents could have doubled.

"We’re finding more and more distractions in the vehicle because there are more things to do than just drive and unfortunately we've got some drivers taking advantage of that and it's costing," said Department of Public Safety Trooper Sparky Dean. 

There were 16 traffic fatalities in Abilene in 2012 alone and 8 of them involved a drunk driver.

"16 lives, you know lives. These are daughters, sons, moms, grandparents, you know, so it's heartbreaking," George Spindler of the Abilene Police Department said. 

Officers said one way to protect yourself in an accident is to wear a seat belt. They also said drivers who are rushing to get somewhere increase their odds of getting into an accident.

"Everywhere you need to watch your speed because speed kills," said Spindler.

Tailgating, making a full stop at stop signs, and following other basic traffic laws could be the difference between life and death.

"For a safer 2013, eliminate those risks and recognize that driving is one of the most dangerous things we're doing at any given time," Spindler said. 

 Most people who are caught not wearing a seatbelt said they weren't traveling very far. However, a survey done by progressive insurance showed 77 percent of accidents occurred 15 miles or less from home.