Pedestrian crashespedestrian-1200 have made devastating headlines in Boston and Somerville this past week. In Boston, a van struck two pedestrians at a feared intersection last Wednesday (Sept. 11th). One victim, a young woman, later died from her injuries. The next day in Somerville, a garbage truck critically injured a woman on the McGrath Highway.

As the investigations begin, many are questioning the traffic signals. In Boston, city officials responded quickly, with Mayor Marty Walsh already announcing changes at Melcher and Summer streets. This intersection is located in the Fort Point neighborhood near the Seaport District and South Boston.

Going forward, pedestrians will have a full right of way at the intersection.

According to WHDH, the traffic signal had been giving pedestrians the light to start crossing Summer Street. Then, drivers on Melcher Street were given the green light to turn while pedestrians were still crossing. Signage warned drivers to yield to pedestrians, but residents and businesses said this wasn’t enough. They worried about their safety and complained to city officials.

Boston Police are investigating. No criminal charges have been filed against the driver of the van.

The next day in Somerville (Sept. 14th), a woman was hit by a garbage truck and transported to a local hospital with serious injuries. The 34-year-old was hit on the McGrath Highway, at the intersection of Somerville Avenue. According to NBC Boston, the woman had been attempting to cross the street around 1:45 p.m., using the marked crosswalk. The garbage truck struck her as it turned.

As in Boston, State Police are investigating. No criminal charges have been filed against the driver.

As we wait to hear more, the Somerville News Weekly is reporting the traffic signal may have been re-synchronized the day after the truck crash. The report questions whether the driver and pedestrian had overlapping traffic signals, as was the case in Boston.

Somerville saw a new traffic pattern introduced earlier this year around the intersection, according to the news weekly. Traffic accidents have followed.

Both Somerville and Boston have seen pedestrian accidents resulting in serious injury and death this year. In Somerville, drivers have hit residents, then kept traveling.

In February, a 40-year-old educator was killed in the crosswalk at Hardan Road and Powderhouse Boulevard. The alleged driver, a Norwood man, never stopped and even went out for dinner later that evening. Days later, the police search came to an end when the man’s truck was found the vehicle parked in Somerville.

Another pedestrian was killed in July. The 52-year-old woman was struck along Mystic Avenue, near McGrath Highway and Stop & Shop. This time, the 64-year-old driver from Roxbury turned himself into Somerville Police the next day. The Boston Globe also raised questions about this traffic signal in its reporting, observing pedestrians had just 12 seconds to cross the busy area.

In late August, a 69-year-old man was seriously injured in the early morning hours on Mystic Avenue and Shore Drive. Another driver found him and stopped to help, according to WCVB. As in the other Somerville crashes, neighbors were stunned that the driver fled the scene.

In Boston, several pedestrians were injured by cars this summer. One area of concern has been Massachusetts Avenue and Melnea Cass Boulevard. On June 23rd, a car collided with a pedestrian during the morning commute there. She died shortly later. In July, a Boston Public Health Commission hit a pedestrian in the same area, this time causing minor injuries.

Boston Pedestrian Car Crash Lawyers – Breakstone, White & Gluck
The Boston law firm of Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in representing those injured by car accidents and pedestrian accidents. If you or a loved one have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free consultation with our attorneys, contact 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck of Boston was recently mentioned in a Dedham Times article about the Dedham Bike Rodeo in August. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Project KidSafe campaign participated for the seventh year and donated more than 100 helmets to the kids. Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to helping children ride safely on bikes and protect against head injuries. Founded in 1992, our firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice cases across Massachusetts.

Article courtesy of The Dedham Times. Click link for full 2-page article.

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Red light crashes

Drivers who run red lights are causing a record number of deaths in Massachusetts and across the U.S., according to a new study.

While red means stop, we have all seen cars speed on, especially if you live in Boston. Our attorneys have represented countless clients who have been seriously injured or killed by another driver’s recklessness at intersections. Now, a new study reports running a red light is causing a record number of traffic fatalities across the United States. From AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety:

  • Red light running crashes have reached a 10-year high in the U.S.
  • 939 people were killed when drivers sped through red lights in 2017, a 28 percent increase over 2012.
  • More than a quarter of all intersection accidents happen because drivers run red lights.
  • Nearly half of those injured in red light crashes were passengers or occupants of other vehicles. Pedestrians and cyclists accounted for more than 5 percent of fatalities.
  • Over 35 percent of traffic deaths were red light running drivers themselves.
  • 85 percent of drivers consider it very dangerous to run a red light, yet one in three reported speeding through one in the past 30 days, according to AAA Foundation’s Traffic Safety Culture Index.
  • On the same note, nearly half (more than 2 out of 5 drivers) found it unlikely that they would ever be stopped by law enforcement.
  • Despite these responses, running a red light can have serious consequences, resulting in a possible insurance surcharge or criminal charges.

AAA officials count Americans driving more and distracted driving as two causes. Meanwhile, the Federal Highway Administration reports more than 50 percent of fatal and injury crashes in the U.S. happen at or near an intersection.

Massachusetts Red Light Accidents

Red light crashes are a danger at Massachusetts intersections. From 2008 to 2017, Massachusetts lost 43 people when drivers ran red lights, according to Wicked Local. These deaths are just the drivers who were caught and are in addition to other injuries.

Safety Recommendations: Roundabouts and Traffic Cameras

AAA officials say roundabouts and traffic cameras could reduce the number of crashes. Massachusetts is actively working to convert rotaries into roundabouts, which are considered safer because they force drivers into the correct lanes. However, with more than 100 rotaries across Massachusetts, change will take time.

There is long-standing opposition to traffic cameras at Massachusetts intersections, even as AAA says traffic cameras have reduced fatal red light running crashes by 21 percent in large cities. Overall, traffic cameras have contributed to a 14 percent reduction in all fatal crashes at signalized intersections.

Unlike some states, Massachusetts does not have a state law permitting use on local intersections. While MassDOT operates traffic cameras along the MassPike, there is a battle over local intersections.

More than a decade ago, several Massachusetts communities attempted to pass ordinances allowing for red light cameras, among them Saugus, Lawrence and Springfield. South of Boston, Brockton also approved a local traffic camera ordinance. Traffic cameras were never installed. Citing privacy concerns, state lawmakers declined to pass the legislation necessary for these local ordinances to stand. Now years later, there are state lawmakers interested in similar legislation, so we may be revisiting the debate at some point. Here is one lawmaker’s blog.

Across state lines, you may find traffic cameras at red lights in Rhode Island, along with 19 other states. Rhode Island, however, does not have a state authorizing the use of speed cameras (Source: Governors Highway Safety Association).

AAA only recommends traffic cameras at intersections with demonstrated patterns of red light violations or high crash rates. Cameras should be part of broader traffic safety programs and drivers should be notified through signage and other methods.

Reducing Red Light Accidents in Massachusetts
Drivers have a responsibility to operate with care and pass other vehicles, cyclists and pedestrians at a safe distance in Boston and every other community in Massachusetts.

The Boston area commute is stressful. Leaving your home a few minutes earlier was once an effective way to beat the traffic. Unfortunately, as traffic congestion has grown, you now have to leave even earlier in many Massachusetts communities and that isn’t always enough to beat the 2-3 hour commutes. But even in these conditions, practicing patience and putting down your cell phone are paramount to preventing red light crashes and distracted driving accidents causing injury or death. Always watch for pedestrians and cyclists, maintaining a safe distance at all times and taking extra care when approaching crosswalks and bike lanes. Remember you may not be able to see a pedestrian until that moment they step onto the road.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has been recognized for our superior results for clients. Founded in 1992, our law firm specializes in representing those who have been injured due to the negligence and wrongdoing of others. We specialize in handling cases involving car accidents and truck crashes in Boston, Cambridge, the South Shore, the North Shore and across Massachusetts. If you have been injured, learn your rights. Contact our firm for a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Delivery man with online purchase

Check your package to make sure it’s safe and contains what you ordered. That’s one of several warnings about product safety as students head back to school in Massachusetts.

Parents, as school begins, there are good reasons to double check your child’s backpack, daycare program and dorm room, as well as online purchases. There have been several recent recalls and news reports about unsafe products, providing warnings for children of all ages.

Dangerous Products on Amazon. It’s convenient to place a quick order on Amazon and see the package arrive in no time. But a Wall Street Journal investigation has found the retailer is actually selling thousands of unsafe products. These products have been declared unsafe by federal agencies, are deceptively labeled or are banned by federal regulators. The Journal’s investigation documented 4,152 dangerous products, including toys and medications, according to news reports.

Amazon draws the majority of its business from third-party merchant sales and the report questions Amazon’s oversight of these sellers. Meanwhile, the company has reportedly removed some of the products and said it is committed to consumer safety, investing over $400 million toward these efforts in 2018.

Always do your research when making online purchases and open packages as soon as they arrive. Check that the packaging matches what appears online. Parents should carefully inspect the age recommendations and take inventory of unexpected pieces and parts that could cause choking and other injuries.

Contigo Water Bottles. Contigo has recalled 5.7 million of its Contigo Kids Cleanable Water Bottles, saying they can detach and pose a choking hazard. The Chicago-based company has received 149 complaints, including 18 reports of children found with the detached spout in their mouths. Contigo will provide a free replacement lid for the products. Read more.

Infant Sleepers. Fisher-Price issued a product recall for the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play sleepers back in April. But the unsettling news is some of the recalled cribs are still in use. In a survey of 376 daycare centers, one in four were still using at least one of Fisher-Price’s recalled sleepers, according to USA Today. This report just came out in the last few days.

Parents please read this article and talk to your child’s daycare provider. Fisher-Price recalled the sleepers following 10 deaths. The Consumer Product Safety Commission is now aware of more than 30 infant deaths.

Battery-Operated Skateboards. We want to mention a news headline out of Ohio because while it’s several states away, it provides an important warning for Massachusetts parents of college students. On Tuesday, a battery-operated skateboard sparked a 5th floor dormitory fire at the University of Cincinnati, causing a reported $20,000 in damage to Calhoun Hall, a 12-story structure housing hundreds of students. Fortunately, no injuries were reported. Officials have not identified the product which caused the fire, but the incident is a reminder that dangerous products can have a far more devastating effect in college housing. Read and follow the college’s guidelines on products which are not permitted.

Stay Informed About Product Recalls
Because there is nothing more critical than your child’s safety and well-being, we urge you to check the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to learn about other recent recalls. To stay informed, you can sign up for regular email alerts about product recalls or visit the CPSC website periodically.

Contact a Boston Product Liability Attorney
Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented those injured by defective products in Massachusetts for more than 25 years. We periodically share information on product recalls and unsafe products to help prevent injuries before they happen.

If you or a loved one have been injured by a defective product, seek immediate medical attention. Preserve the product and contact an attorney to learn your legal rights.

For a free legal consultation, contact our Boston product liability attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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From left: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck, a Boston law firm specializing in personal injury and medical malpractice.

From left: Attorney Ronald E. Gluck, Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck. Our Boston law firm specializes in personal injury and medical malpractice representation for plaintiffs.

Breakstone, White & Gluck today announces that Attorney Marc L. Breakstone, Attorney David W. White and Attorney Ronald E. Gluck have earned rankings in The Best Lawyers in America© 2020. This marks the 10th year our personal injury attorneys have been recognized for our results for clients in the Boston area.

Best Lawyers© is the oldest and most respected attorney ranking service in the world, publishing its attorney listings in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and other media partners. The rankings are intended to help those who need legal services identify highly respected attorneys.

Best Lawyers© recognizes lawyers through a peer-review process. Members of the public, clients and other attorneys first provide nominations. Attorneys are then asked to evaluate other attorneys on their legal abilities in their practice areas.

Marc L. Breakstone was selected for recognition in the specialties of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs, and Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.

David W. White was selected for recognition in the specialties of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Insurance Law and Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.

Ronald E. Gluck was selected for recognition in the specialty of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Founded in 1992, Breakstone, White & Gluck has earned a reputation for superb results for our clients.  With more than 100 years combined experience, our attorneys have won leading verdicts and settlements in negligence, medical malpractice, product liability and construction accident cases. We represent clients in Boston, Cambridge and surrounding communities, and across Massachusetts.

Recognition
Attorney Breakstone, Attorney White and Attorney Gluck have been consistently recognized individually and as a firm. For the past 15 years, Super Lawyers has featured our attorneys in its annual rankings published in Boston Magazine. Our attorneys have also received selection to the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers.

Personal Injury Experience

Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to assisting individuals and families who have suffered catastrophic injuries or death as a result of someone else’s negligence. Our attorneys provide representation after injuries arising from motor vehicle accidents, transportation accidents, construction accidents, premises liability accidents, defective products and dog bites, along with other injuries. Our partners have practiced together for nearly 30 years – and each has more than 35 years of experience handling personal injury and medical malpractice cases in Massachusetts.

Read about our personal injury case results for clients.

Car Accidents and Transportation Accidents

Car accidents are one area of our expertise. Breakstone, White & Gluck represents those injured in all types of motor vehicle accidents, including car accidents, pedestrian accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle crashes and large truck collisions. Our attorneys are highly experienced in investigating cases involving drunk driving injuries and time and again, have held drivers, restaurants and bars responsible for the injuries they have caused. Our car accident case results for clients.

The firm offers special expertise in handling cases involving pedestrian injuries in MBTA bus accidents and subway accidents. Our MBTA bus accident case results for clients.

Medical Malpractice Experience

Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented hundreds of clients who have suffered catastrophic injuries as a result of medical malpractice, at the doctor’s office, hospital, nursing home or in an ambulance. When medical malpractice leads to death, we represent families who have lost loved ones in wrongful death claims, pursuing answers about what happened, then obtaining compensation to help cope with emotional, physical and financial losses. Our attorneys’ medical malpractice awards for clients.

Construction Accident Experience

Our attorneys are known for their thorough and skilled investigation of construction accidents as well as our aggressive pursuit of the best financial reward for our clients and their families. When accidents happen, construction companies sometimes maneuver to limit or avoid financial responsibility. Our attorneys have stopped companies from taking these deceptive steps to protect the best interests our clients. Read about our work, including our $7.5 million settlement for the victim of a fatal propane gas explosion on a condo construction site and our $1.375 million settlement for a family who lost a son in a crane collapse.

Boston Personal Injury Lawyers – Free Legal Consultation

If you or a loved one has been injured, learn your legal rights for seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form. You can also learn more about our work from our past clients.

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Breakstone, White & Gluck was proud to support the Mattapan on Wheels event this weekend. We only wish the temperature had been more forgiving for cyclists riding for such a good cause. This ride is a terrific cause in our book!

The Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition organizes Mattapan on Wheels each year to encourage physical activity, as well as safe cycling on Mattapan streets and the Lower Neponset River Trail. Many Mattapan children take their first ride at this event and receive their first bicycle helmet from Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Project KidSafe campaign. Our law firm donates 100 bicycle helmets each year to encourage safety. More experienced cyclists help children and others fit the helmets and get them ready to ride.

This event gives cyclists access to other key safety resources too. Boston police officers and community volunteers come out to lead the ride and follow in back. There are all skill levels here and cyclists can choose their ride and challenge themselves with a new route each year. Other community groups are on hand to do ABC checks – air, brakes and chain. Then, the ride usually wraps up and everyone heads over to the Annual Scoops and Hoops event nearby.

The event is the group’s primary fundraiser. More than 50 cyclists still turned out this weekend, despite the heat and raised over $3,200 for bike-related activities. But this is roughly a third of the typical participation and Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition is still collecting donations. You can learn more from the Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition’s website. The website is under construction, but you can find the contact information and social media sites at the bottom of the page.

Photo credits: Mattapan Food and Fitness Coalition Facebook page.

 

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience fighting for the rights of those who have been injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others in Massachusetts. Our attorneys have won numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements have been recognized on the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers lists. We founded our Project KidSafe campaign in 2013 to encourage children to wear helmets every time they ride to prevent head injuries in bicycle accidents.

If you have been injured or have lost a loved one due to someone’s negligence, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Pedestrians in crosswalk

Somerville has seen at least two fatal pedestrian crosswalk crashes during 2019. The news media has reported both were hit-and-run crashes.

A driver was tragically killed in a Somerville crosswalk over the weekend. The victim was struck on Saturday night around 8 p.m. as she crossed along Mystic Avenue (Route 38), near McGrath Highway and Stop & Shop.

The victim, a Somerville resident, was transported from the scene and later pronounced dead at Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH). Meanwhile, Massachusetts State Police began investigating and searching for the driver, who had fled the scene. The 64-year-old Roxbury man turned himself in Sunday morning and was charged with leaving the scene of a crash causing personal injury or death and a crosswalk violation, according to WBZ Boston. He pleaded not guilty at arraignment today in Somerville District Court, where prosecutors revealed a few details about the crash. The driver admitted to drinking two glasses of wine at dinner before the crash and said he initially stopped because he suspected he had hit someone. He was allowed to remain free on $1,000 bail on the condition he refrain from alcohol. He is not allowed to drive.

According to StreetsBlog Mass, the crosswalk is located along Mystic Avenue. It provides pedestrians with access to the Kensington Underpass, which runs under I-93 and connects most of Somerville’s residential neighborhoods to businesses and offices in the Assembly Square district.

This is at least the second fatal pedestrian crosswalk accident in Somerville this year. Both were hit-and-run crashes. In February, a beloved 40-year-old educator was walking in a crosswalk at the Harden Road and Powderhouse Boulevard intersection. She was hit by a truck which never stopped and died from her injuries. Somerville Police had to launch a regional search. Days later, police found the 55-year-old Norwood driver, with help from a Tufts University police officer who spotted the truck parked on University Avenue in Medford. Still damaged, the truck was parked just a mile from the site of the pedestrian hit-and-run.

Tips for Driving Safely Near Pedestrians

Pedestrian accidents are often serious and life-threatening. You have probably heard this before, but drivers really can prevent most pedestrian injuries by slowing down and focusing on the road. Most people drive faster than they realize.  According to AAA, when you adjust your speed from 25 mph to 35 mph, you double your risk for causing a fatal pedestrian accident.

Our safety tips for drivers:

  • Travel the speed limit or lower when appropriate in neighborhoods and areas near stores and restaurants.
  • Travel slowly through parking lots; never cut across parking lots or check cell phones.
  • Always stop for pedestrians in a crosswalk.
  • Take caution when driving at night.
  • Older drivers should have regular vision exams and monitor their driving.
  • Watch fatigue.
  • Use GPS before you start driving.
  • Do not use your cell phone for any reason. Even hands-free technology can be a distraction, especially during the summer months and for night driving.
  • Never operate a motor vehicle while intoxicated or while under the influence of marijuana.
  • Put down drinks and food.
  • Talk to your family. If anyone is ever in an unimaginable situation and has hit a pedestrian or bicyclist, tell them to stop, call police and wait at the scene.
  • Leaving the scene is against the law in Massachusetts. If the driver leaves the scene, the victim may not get the medical care they need to survive. Minutes and seconds matter.

Beyond preventing injury, it’s in your best interest to slow down if you don’t want a ticket. More than 40 Massachusetts communities have now established slower, 25 mph default speed limits. Massachusetts sets a 30 mph default speed limit for communities. But under state Municipal Modernization Law passed in 2016, individual cities and towns can opt into a 25 mph speed limit instead in thickly settled areas and business districts. They can also create 20 mph work safety zones. Communities cannot alter speed limits on state roads.

Next time you enter one of these communities, watch for the speed limit signs as you enter. Boston,  Cambridge and Somerville are among the communities which have adopted the lower 25 mph speed limit. The City of Somerville implemented a 25 mph speed limit citywide as soon as the state law took effect back in 2016. It also pursued 20 mph limits in work safety zones.

Breakstone, White & Gluck – Free Legal Consultation

Breakstone, White & Gluck is known for our extensive experience handling personal injury cases and our superb results for those injured and their families throughout Massachusetts. We invite you to learn about our results after pedestrian crashes.

Our Boston personal injury attorneys specialize in representing those injured in pedestrian accidents involving crosswalks and other pedestrian car accidents. If you have been injured, it is critical to learn your legal rights for seeking compensation and learn about the process ahead. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Used car dealer holding keys to unsafe car in Massachusetts.

A dangerous bill has been filed in Massachusetts seeking to give used car dealers the right to sell used cars with pending recalls. Dealers would just have to provide written disclosure. Safety groups are opposed here and in other states.

The automotive industry has been pushing states to pass legislation allowing car dealers to sell used cars with open safety recalls. The industry wants to just disclose the pending recalls, rather than provide repair. Proposed legislation was the subject of a hearing at the Massachusetts State House this week. Massachusetts is the 11th state where this unsafe and anti-consumer legislation has been introduced over the past five years. Most other states have not passed the measures pushed by car dealers.

MassPIRG represented a coalition of safety organizations before the State House Joint Committee on Monday, speaking out against the bill, SB 179/HB 262, An Act further regulating business practices between motor vehicle dealers, manufacturers, and distributors. The bill was filed by Rep. Daniel J. Hunt and Sen. Marc R. Pacheco.

If approved, this proposal would allow Massachusetts car dealers to sell used cars under recall and simply provide written disclosure about outstanding repairs and defects, according to MassPIRG.

MassPIRG and its coalition strongly oppose this legislation, calling it a “serious threat to the safety of everyone who shares the roads,” and a “dangerous, profoundly anti-consumer, anti-safety, special interest bill.” It further noted there is no other recalled product that can be legally sold. You can read the coalition’s full statement here.

The proposal would weaken some of the most fundamental Massachusetts laws designed to protect consumers. Under the current laws, car dealers must affirmatively warrant that used cars are safe to operate on the roads. Dealers can be held liable for failing to comply with common law duty of care and for engaging in acts which are unfair, deceptive or negligent and result in wrongful death. Consumers have the right to recover financial losses in court or file a civil lawsuit in cases involving personal injury or wrongful death.

The Role of the Automotive Lobbying Groups

The Center for Public Integrity has teamed up with USA Today and The Arizona Republic to cover the lobbying effort by the automotive industry in the wake of the massive auto recalls. There are a number of industry groups, but the media partners report the Automotive Trade Association Executives has drafted “suggested” legislation being provided to many states. The Washington D.C.-based organization represents more than 100 executives from the regional auto dealer associations.

The media partners reported the goal was for the legislation to have two parts: one requiring manufacturers to fairly compensate auto dealers for holding onto used cars which needed repairs. The second part would allow those same auto dealers to sell recalled used cars if they disclosed repairs were needed.

Reporting on the Many Injuries

Over the last decade, drivers have suffered through recall after recall – over 280 million vehicles overall, according to the Consumer Federation of America. While many repairs have been made, the group estimates over 70 million recalled vehicles remain on the road.

As part of their coverage, the media partners have covered the stories of cars being sold multiple times after recalls and the injuries that follow.

The stories include that of Carlos Solis, a 35-year-old Texas father of two killed by a defective airbag in his Honda Accord. Solis was hit by an oncoming car as he waited to make a turn into an apartment complex outside of Houston. While his passenger was left uninjured and the vehicle suffered little exterior damage, Solis was struck in the neck by metal from the airbag. It severed his carotid artery and he died within minutes.

Solis had no warning about the defective airbag. An independent used car dealer sold the car without fixing the airbags or warning him Honda had recalled the vehicle years earlier. His family filed a civil lawsuit. Across the country, other families who lost loved ones did the same. Car dealers took notice.

Tennessee’s “Used Recall” Law

According to the media partners, legislation has been introduced in Massachusetts and 10 other states, including California, Illinois, Maryland, Missouri, New Jersey, New York, Oregon and Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia.

Tennessee is one state which passed the law with the car dealers’ language intact. What happened there shows the automotive industry is reaching too far, disregarding potential injuries and deaths and harming families already in pain.

In 2014, Lara Gass, 27, died in a car crash caused by a faulty ignition switch in a Saturn Ion. GM had just recalled the safety defect a few weeks earlier. Her parents approached the local state legislator, asking him to introduce “Lara’s Law,” which would have banned the sale of recalled used cars.

The state lawmaker consulted with a local lobbyist from the Tennessee Automotive Association. They edited the language, removing the sales ban. Instead, they added a requirement to disclose the auto recalls to consumers.

The Gass family stopped supporting the bill. The local lawmaker – who had received $56,000 in campaign donations from local dealers – withdrew the bill. But that wasn’t the end of it. The next year, the same lawmaker reintroduced the legislation in the state Senate with the sales ban sought by the Gass family. Another legislator introduced an identical bill in the state House. Since these were identical bills, there would potentially be little to reconcile before committees.

Neither bill moved forward, but the second lawmaker ended up helping the auto dealers add the “disclosure” language to an unrelated law regulating, of all things, rickshaws. There was no sales ban as the Gass family had sought. Republican Gov. Bill Haslam signed “The Motor Vehicle Recall and Disclosure Law” on May 5, 2017.

“Lawmakers were more influenced by lobbyists than they were by citizens trying to do the right thing,” Jay Gass told the media outlets.

The one exception in the Tennessee law is car dealers cannot sell used recalled cars with special notices, including “do-not-drive recalls” or “stop-sale orders.” But these are very rarely issued.

Federal Legislation May Be Ahead

Hopefully, no other state will have to consider this type of anti-consumer legislation. Last month, U.S. Sen. Edward Markey (D-Massachusetts) and U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Connecticut) introduced federal legislation that would ban all sales, leases and loans of used cars with open recall notices. This would be a uniform law protecting car buyers, drivers and road users under one standard in all 50 states.

Boston Product  Liability Lawyers – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Boston personal injury lawyers are experts in handling product liability cases involving defective parts in cars and trucks. We represent clients in all types of product liability cases, including those involving defective construction equipment, fitness equipment, toys and consumer products. Our attorneys provide plaintiff’s representation in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts.

If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Massachusetts State House

Massachusetts lawmakers plan to hold an oversight hearing on how the RMV processes out-of-state license violations.

Many are grieving in the wake of the fatal motorcycle crash in New Hampshire. At the same time, many are asking, “Where was the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles?” State lawmakers say they will now convene an oversight hearing to review the RMV safety lapses.

The Massachusetts RMV failed to suspend Volodymyr Zhukovskyy’s CDL license, a move which could have prevented the June 21 crash killing seven motorcyclists in Randolph, New Hampshire. Three other riders were injured. The motorcyclists belonged to the Jarheads MC, a New England club for Marine veterans and their spouses.

But how was Zhukovskyy even driving?

Weeks earlier, Zhukovskyy had been charged with an OUI in the state of Connecticut. The Massachusetts RMV received this information yet took no action, leaving the 23-year-old West Springfield man free to drive using his CDL license, which allows him to operate a commercial motor vehicle.

Even though he had a reckless driving history, Zhukovsky received his Class A license – or CDL – in August 2018, WCVB reported.

He had received his Massachusetts personal driving license in April 2013. Soon after, he was picked up for operating under the influence for hitting two vehicles in Westfield, Massachusetts, according to NBC Boston. He lost his Massachusetts driver’s license for 210 days.

Zhukovsky had a history of reckless driving and license suspensions in five states before the New Hampshire crash. In addition to the recent OUI arrest in Connecticut, he had been charged or involved in crashes in Massachusetts, Iowa, Ohio and Texas. He allegedly flipped a tractor-trailer haulting cars in Baytown, Texas just after the Connecticut OUI and just 18 days before the New Hampshire crash. He was not cited in that incident.

Still, Zhukovsky was driving a pickup truck towing a flatbed trailer for his employer, Westfield Transport, in New Hampshire.

Mistakes at the Massachusett RMV

In the days after the truck crash, families mourned the motorcyclists and the Massachusetts registrar of motor vehicles resigned. We learned Zhukovsky wasn’t the only driver who slipped under the radar.

Gov. Charlie Baker and Transportation Secretary Stephanie Pollack held a series of news conferences. On July 5, they acknowledged they had launched a review of the out-of-state notifications, finding nearly 900 drivers had been allowed to keep driving in Massachusetts even as they faced serious charges in other states. As a result, state officials suspended approximately 876 drivers.

These were serious offenses, including operating under the influence of alcohol and drugs, leaving the scene of a fatal accident and even vehicular homicide.

According to The Boston Globe, the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles had ignored thousands of notifications from other states and it was unclear when this practice began. The Globe reported no one at the RMV had been responsible for tracking paper notifications since at least March 2018. These notifications were found in 53 bins in the RMV’s Quincy headquarters, organized by the month of arrival, but with no action taken.

A state official told the Globe it was unclear why the RMV personnel stopped processing the paper notifications. However, the state had signed up for a voluntary electronic notification system created by the American Association of Motor Vehicle Administrators that same month.

We can expect learn more about the safety lapses and the RMV in coming weeks. According to MassLive.com, the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Transportation has announced it will hold an oversight hearing later in July.

Meanwhile, Gov. Baker and Transportation Secretary Pollack say the Department of Transportation has or will:

  • Extend its review of out-of-state license infractions back to 2011. More drivers could face suspensions.
  • Hire an accounting firm, Grant Thornton, to conduct a forensic audit and determine why Zhukovskyy’s license was not revoked. The firm is expected to release a 30-day report, then a final report within 60 days.
  • Create a new deputy registrar position to focus on public safety at the RMV.
  • Gov. Baker said he is drafting legislation to tighten requirements for CDL licenses.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury attorneys at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing victims of motor vehicle accidents, truck crashes and motorcycle accidents in Boston, Worcester and across Massachusetts. Learn more about our work and results from our past clients and their families.

If you have been injured, learn your rights for seeking compensation for your medical expenses, lost wages and pain and suffering. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244, 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed this past weekend about the civil and criminal cases against actor Kevin Spacey. Breakstone said the accuser’s decision to withdraw the civil lawsuit “with prejudice” is extremely significant.

“This will never be refiled,” Breakstone told The Boston Globe. “This claim is now extinguished for all time.”

The accuser, who is the son of former Boston television anchor Heather Unruh, just filed the civil lawsuit in Nantucket Superior Court on June 26. Breakstone said the withdrawal of the civil lawsuit could mean Spacey has reached a settlement with the accuser. If there is such an agreement, Breakstone said, there will likely be confidentially requirement to keep the details private and out of public view.

Spacey and his legal team are scheduled to return to Nantucket District Court this morning for a hearing in the criminal case. Breakstone said withdrawal of the civil lawsuit could jeopardize the criminal proceedings, but prosecutors interviewed by The Boston Globe insisted the civil case will not affect the criminal proceedings.

Kevin Spacey is a two-time Oscar winner best known for his role on “House of Cards,” a Netflix production. He played the character of Frank Underwood from 2013 through 2017, when he was charged with indecent assault and battery in Nantucket. Netflix kept producing the show, but cut ties with Spacey.

Spacey is accused of indecent assault and battery on Unruh’s son in July 2016 at Nantucket’s Club Car Restaurant.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing those injured by the negligence and wrongdoing of others. If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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