N.Y. Attorney David Resnick Applauds Drop In Highway Fatalities

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Latest federal report shows rate of deaths per miles traveled in 2009 was lowest on record, but distracted driving is a rising concern, says Resnick, a New York personal injury lawyer.

As one who has seen too much evidence of the costs of motor vehicle accidents, I am glad to see the numbers dropping. But the total is still much too high and new hazards related to distracted driving could end the downward trend.

David Resnick, a New York attorney with extensive experience representing car accident victims, welcomed a new federal report that shows the rate of fatal accidents has hit an all time low.

The report from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, issued earlier this month, showed the fatality rate for 2009 at the lowest level on record dating back to 1954.

In 2009, the report said, 33,963 people died on the nation's highways, a toll that is down down 8.9 percent from 37,261 fatalities in 2008. The drop marks the 15th consecutive quarterly decline since the most recent peak in 2005, when 43,510 people were killed.

"As one who has seen too much evidence of the costs of motor vehicle accidents, I am glad to see the numbers dropping," Resnick said. "But the total is still much too high and new hazards related to distracted driving could end the downward trend."

Traffic safety experts say the drop in highway deaths reflects better vehicle safety equipment such as air bags, higher use of seat belts, a slowdown in driving due to the recession and a continuing drop in drunk driving.

In New York state, NHTSA statistics show the number of alcohol-related highway fatalities has dropped significantly, mirroring a national trend. In 2008, the most recent available year, 28 percent of New York's 1,231 fatal accidents were alcohol related. The percentage has been dropping since NHTSA began recording alcohol-related statistics in 1982. That year, 45 percent of New York's 2,162 highway deaths were alcohol-related.

Resnick, the principal partner in David Resnick & Associates, P.C. of New York, said drunk driving laws are having a positive effect, but lawmakers must concentrate on cutting distracted driving involving cell phones and texting.

"A driver who isn't focused on the road — in fact isn't even looking at the road for several seconds at a time — is every bit as dangerous as a drunk driver," Resnick said. "States should impose serious penalties on those who ignore their responsibility to keep their eyes and their attention on the road."

According to NHTSA research, nearly 6,000 people died in 2008 in crashes involving a distracted or inattentive driver, and more than half a million were injured. The most frequent offenders were men and women under 20 years of age.

Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia have texting laws covering all drivers, the NHTSA said, and in 2009 more than 200 distracted driving bills were considered by state legislatures.

About David Resnick & Associates, P.C.

David Resnick & Associates, P.C. is a well-respected accident and personal injury firm in New York City. The firm handles claims involving car accidents, bicycle accidents, pedestrian accidents and hit and runs as well as construction site hazards in New York City's five boroughs of Manhattan, Brooklyn, Queens, Staten Island and the Bronx. For more information or for a free, no-obligation case consultation, call (212) 279-2000 or visit http://www.nyaccidentslaw.com.

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