Motor Vehicle Accidents | Manhattan Personal Injury Attorney


Since  records of the “rate of traffic fatalities” have been kept, 2009 has recorded the lowest rate ever! “Fatality rate” involves the number of traffic fatalities combined with the number of miles traveled.

In just the last year alone, there was an 8.9% in the number of deaths reported:  37,261 in 2008 and 33,963 in 2009.  The “rate” of deaths in 2008 was 1.25 per “100 million vehicle miles traveled (VMT); in 2009 it was 1.16 per VMT–again, the lowest ever recorded!

Why the decline? According t the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it is due to a combination of factors including the increased  use of seat belts prompted  by national campaigns to promote seat belt use, and campaigns to reduce drunk driving and distracted driving (which involve the use of cell phones for calls and texting). In addition to these items indicated by David Strickland, NHTSA Administrator, we should also look  to the increased presence of collision avoidance devices appearing in automobiles.


Distracted Driving Study Called Irresponsible


United States Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood declared the recent findings of an insurance industry study “irresponsible.”  The conclusion of this study was that laws enacted by several states, banning phone calls and/or texting on hand-held devices, have NOT led to fewer accidents. This result is nothing short of astounding. It directly contradicts other findings and  has become the subject of considerable controversy. This outcome flows from a study of insurance  claims filed both before,  and then following, the enactment of these bans in California, New York, Connecticut and Washington, D.C.

Six states ban the use of hand-held devices and nineteen states and D.C. limit the ban to texting.

The Governors’ Highway Safety Association limits its position to a ban on texting. It wants more data before deciding on whether to call for a ban on all hand-held devices. On the other hand, the National Safety Council wants to see a total ban on all distracting devices, including hands-free devices!

Should the issue of the use of distracting devices come  up at trial, the potential certainly exists for dueling experts. Nevertheless, to the experienced Personal Injury Attorney, this is not an unusual occurrence and would not, and should not, deter the attorney from  pursuing this item of evidence  to what will hopefully be his client’s advantage.

To read the complete article about the Study CLICK HERE.


Driving Under The Influence of Cellphone Technology | Driving & Texting


On January 11, 2010 the New York Times, in its “Technology” section, published some interesting, yet disturbing, statistics: 11% of drivers, at any one time, talk on their cell phones while driving (per a federal study); Drivers using cell phones cause 2600 deaths each year (per a Harvard study)*; 570,000 accidents causing minor and major injuries are the result of cell phone usage (Harvard study);

With the growing awareness by Americans of the hazards of cell phone usage in cars, the NYTimes also found (in a NYT/CBS NEWS poll) that 50% of Americans hold the view that texting and driving should be punished at least as harshly as drunk driving.

This attitude is fortified by published studies indicating that drivers using cell phones are four times more likely to have an accident than other drivers.   In fact, the likelihood that someone using a cell phone will crash has been shown to equal that of a driver with a .08 percent blood alcohol level, the level considered “impaired” in many, if not most, states.

While the dangers of cell phones usage, in ALL its forms, is well established (texting, hands free, hand held),

no state has banned the use of cell phones while driving entirely.  The most that has been restricted is the use of hand held devices.  Federal employees are not allowed to text while driving, pursuant to an executive order issued by President Obama.

For the Personal Injury Attorney, the issue of distracted or impaired driving while using a cell phone has become an entirely new area to be investigated in automobile accident cases.  This is also a new area for litigation and discovery.  There will, undoubtedly, be judges across the country that will be reluctant to permit opposing parties access to the cell phone records of their adversaries.  Nevertheless, as knowledge about the horrific hazards cell phone usage poses while driving becomes more widespread, our courts will hopefully expand dramatically their tolerance for the discovery of cell phone records.

Currently, any experienced Personal Injury attorney will make every effort to obtain cell phone records of an opposing party if there is the slightest indication that cell phone usage may have been a contributing cause of the accident involved.

*Transportation Secretary LaHood states the annual death toll from cell phone distraction amounts to 5,800