As Maryland automobile accident attorney, I respect the dedication of our state and the local municipalities in their ongoing fight to reduce traffic fatalities. And as a Baltimore injury attorney, I know that declining accident rates and motor vehicle deaths is a good thing even when the headlines don’t always indicate the progress of our traffic safety authorities.
According to a study lately from Washington, D.C., law enforcement departments from across the country definitely have some good news to boast about: Based on the latest data highway fatalities have dropped to one the lowest levels in more than half a century.
According to a recent article, law enforcement officials here and across the nation credit the reduction in car and truck accident deaths to a variety of enforcement technologies, coupled with strict drunk driving and drug DUI patrols and checkpoints. The news out of D.C. shows that deadly auto accidents along our public roads have drastically fallen to a level not seen since the 1950s.
Of course, much of the improvement in traffic safety has been driven, so to speak, by new technology and much improved safety-consciousness on the part of car, truck and motorcycle drivers. There is no doubt that a lot of the credit also goes to the much tougher stance that state and local police departments have when it comes to drinking and driving.
According to the U.S. Transportation Department, traffic deaths dropped almost 10 percent in 2009 to just under 39,000 — that’s the lowest since 1950. Deaths related to motorcycle accidents were also down by a full 16 percent, which reportedly was the first actual decline in biker fatalities in the past 11 years.
Here in Maryland the picture was a bit mixed, though encouraging with the total number of fatalities being lower overall; and the same could also be said for that of the District. In fact, all but nine states reported a drop in highway fatalities according to the report issued by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
While Maryland reportedly had a seven-percent decrease in traffic deaths, there was an increase in fatal drunk driving accidents of nearly 12 percent; and while Washington, D.C., reported a 15-percent decrease in fatalities, deaths from drunk drivers increased by one from that of the previous year, for a total of nine deaths.
Finally, Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood stated that even though the possibility of an economic recovery apparently led to an slight increase in drivers on the road in 2009 over the previous year, fatalities continued to decrease — a promising sign one would hope.
Deaths on U.S. highways are at their lowest level in 60 years, WashingtonPost.com, September 10, 2010