As a former New Jersey municipal prosecutor, I can respect the lengths to which our state and local municipalities go to reduce traffic fatalities. According to a new study released out of the nation’s capital, law enforcement agencies across the country have some good news to crow about: Highway deaths have dropped to their lowest levels in 60 years.
Of course, as a New Jersey drunken driving defense attorney and DUI lawyer, I know that many times the police just don’t have the evidence to prove that a motorist has been driving while intoxicated. There should always be a balance between public safety and individual rights, which is why I always tell people to fight what they believe to be a faulty arrest for driving under the influence of alcohol, Marijuana or prescription drugs.
According to a recent news article, New Jersey law enforcement officials have credited various enforcement technologies coupled with strict DWI and drug DUI patrols and checkpoints, among other techniques. The story coming out of Washington, D.C., indicates that deaths on our public roadways have drastically fallen to levels not experienced since the ’50s.
Much of this improvement in traffic safety has been driven, according to the article, by technology, safety-consciousness on the part of motorists, and much tougher police enforcement of DWI laws.
Based on information coming out of the U.S. Transportation Department, traffic deaths dropped almost 10 percent in 2009 to just under 39,000 — that’s the lowest since 1950. Here in the Garden State, highway deaths were down 1.2 percent in 2009 have continued to drop during 2010.
A fair amount of credit, say auto safety experts, is due to more people using their safety belts, the inclusion of side air bags and anti-rollover technology in more and more cars and trucks, as well as tighter enforcement of drinking and driving laws.
According to the article, New Jersey State Police statistics show the number of 2010 highway fatalities across the state was nine percent lower than that of the same period in 2009. So far this year, 368 deaths have resulted from 350 fatal crashes throughout the state. In the same period of 2009, there were 405 deaths in 383 fatal crashes.
According to the study, alcohol-impaired driving deaths nationwide declined 7.4 percent in 2009 to 10,839 deaths, compared with 11,711 in 2008. Alcohol-impaired fatalities fell in 33 states.
Highway deaths drop to lowest level since 1950, PressofAtlanticCity.com, September 9, 2010