Articles Posted in Car Accidents

Driver stops for pedestrians in BostonPedestrian safety is always an important topic. But in Massachusetts, the topic is most critical during the winter months, when a large number of pedestrian accidents happen.

First, everyone on the road – drivers, pedestrians and cyclists – must use reasonable care and follow traffic laws. Then, take another careful look at intersections and school zones you travel through. Read traffic signs and find the crosswalk markings. They may not be as visible during snow conditions, at night or when a large truck is in the next lane. Make sure to stop well before the crosswalk.

Under Massachusetts law, pedestrians have the right of way when they are in a crosswalk and the “Walk” signal is operational. When there is no signal, drivers shall yield the right of way to pedestrians.

Finally, learn where pedestrian accidents and crosswalk accidents have happened in Massachusetts. Read the list below and take away any insights you can to protect yourself, older parents and young children.

Lynn
From 2007 to 2016, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) reported the highest numbers of pedestrian crashes were in Lynn. The downtown area – the roads along Washington Street, Central Avenue and Union Street – saw a total of 321 pedestrian crashes, including 223 incidents which resulted in injury or death. There were another 98 crashes without injuries.

Chelsea
The area approaching the Tobin Bridge saw 260 pedestrian crashes over the same decade. The crash cluster included Chestnut Street, Cherry Street, Ash Street and Everett Avenue. These reports included 192 pedestrian crashes resulting in injury or death and 68 other incidents with no injury reports.

Fall River
MassDOT reported North Main Street and surrounding streets had the third highest number of pedestrian accidents. There were 143 pedestrian injuries and deaths. This cluster included North Main Street then stretched over Interstate 195 to Columbia Street, Hope Street, down to Peckham and Palmer streets.

Cambridge
Central Square is one of the busiest pedestrian walking areas in all of Massachusetts. Central Square and nearby streets ranked fourth for pedestrian accidents in Massachusetts. With 143 total crashes, this cluster includes Lansdowne Street and Hancock Street. This area is near the Central Square T stop, bus services and Cambridge city services.

Boston
With 134 pedestrian crashes, a stretch of downtown Boston ranked fifth for the most pedestrian accidents. This area included Boylston Street to the Mass Turnpike, Route 93 and Frontage Road. There were 84 crashes resulting in injury or death.

New Bedford
This Bristol County community saw 82 pedestrian crashes between Route 6 and Hawthorne Street, which is near the waterfront and Buzzards Bay. Of these, 65 crashes resulted in death or injury.

Quincy
There were 77 total crashes which injured pedestrians in downtown Quincy between 2007 and 2016. These pedestrian crashes happened along Hancock Street, between Elm Street and the corner of Washington Street corner. This area sits near Quincy City Hall, the Thomas Crane Public Library and National Park Service.

Worcester
85 Worcester pedestrian accidents were reported in a cluster of streets along Francis J. McGrath Boulevard. These streets included Southbridge Street, Charleton Street and Sycamore Street. Injury was involved in 55 of these Worcester pedestrian crashes.

New Bedford
Along Acushnet Avenue and Sawyer Street, approaching Interstate 195, there were 72 pedestrian accident reports. Of these, 55 pedestrian accidents involved injury or death.

Somerville and Cambridge
There were 69 pedestrian crashes reported in the traffic cluster around Davis Square in Somerville, just along the Cambridge border. Davis Square is where Highland Avenue converges with Holland Street, College Avenue, Dover Street and Day Street. Just a mile from Tufts University in Medford, Davis Square is an ideal commuter location, with an MBTA Red Line subway service into Boston and Cambridge.

About the Data
This data was published in the MassDOT 2016 Top Crash Locations Report, December 2018.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys provide experienced representation to those injured by negligent driving, including in pedestrian accidents and bicycle crashes. If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed by NBC Boston in segment: “After Fatal Pembroke Crash, Could Holiday Hosts Be Held Liable?”

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was interviewed by NBC Boston as part of its ongoing coverage of the Hi-Way Safety Systems holiday party and the subsequent deaths and injuries. At least three employees are now facing criminal charges, including one in an alleged high-speed drunk driving crash in Pembroke, which killed a teenage girl. A fourth employee was found dead in a Rockland motel in the subsequent hours.

The NBC Boston segment, which aired on January 8, 2020, focused on whether the party hosts may also face criminal charges under the Massachusetts social host law and civil lawsuits. The company reportedly hosted the party.

Breakstone is a Boston personal injury lawyer with over 30 years of experience representing victims of negligence. He said victims may able to file civil lawsuits in these serious cases.

“Key is the issue of control. If I control the service of alcohol in my home, and I have the ability to shut someone off and don’t, I could be liable.”

The Plymouth County District Attorney’s office and police now want to interview each party guest to learn more about the circumstances. In the wake of the crash, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation has announced Hi-Way Safety Systems can no longer bid on state contracts. Hi-Way Safety Systems has announced the employee who caused the Pembroke crash which killed a teenage girl and seriously injured another victim has been fired. He has been charged with one count of manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol, two counts of operating under the influence causing serious bodily injury and other offenses. He was ordered held without bail in Plymouth District Court.

Watch the NBC Boston segment.

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Attorney David W. White, a Boston personal injury lawyerAttorney David W. White was interviewed by Boston 25 News about the potential for social host liability lawsuits following the Hi-Way Safety Systems holiday party and fatal crash in Pembroke, Massachusetts. The driver in that crash is now facing numerous criminal charges related to a teen’s death and injuries to others at the scene, including manslaughter while operating under the influence of alcohol (OUI).

“Now in Massachusetts, that’s a very hard thing to prove,” he said. “You have to be able to show that the host knew or should have known that the guest was getting intoxicated. And it has to be their alcohol. So if a guest brings his or her own alcohol to the party, then there would not be any social host liability.”

Parts of his interview was broadcast last night and this morning. Follow the news website for ongoing coverage: https://www.boston25news.com/

54805316 – traffic jam with row of cars on expressway during rush hour

If you have been injured, it is important to submit a Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator report.

Have you reported your car accident to police?

While we hope you are never involved in a crash, drivers can take a few minutes to familiarize themselves with the Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator report. Reviewing it can be helpful should you ever be in a crash – or witness one.

You can find the Massachusetts motor vehicle crash operator report online. It is available on the state of Massachusetts website.

Massachusetts Motor Vehicle Crash Operator Report – Driver Obligations

M.G.L. Chapter 90, Section 26 states the driver of a motor vehicle involved in a crash must report the collision if anyone was killed, injured or if property damage resulted in an excess of $1,000 in damage. This damage may be to a vehicle involved in the crash or to another type of property, such as a fence or building.

All drivers involved in crashes must file a report with the Massachusetts police department which has jurisdiction, their auto insurance company and the state Registry of Motor Vehicles.

Drivers have five days to file a report. The exception is when a driver suffered serious injury and is unable to file a police report right away.

Police departments must accept motor vehicle crash reports from any driver who unlawfully left the scene of a hit and run accident, even when the property damage falls under $1,000.

When a driver operates someone else’s vehicle under the influence of alcohol and there is a crash, the vehicle’s owner is responsible for reporting. They have five days to report the crash, based on when they learned about the crash.

Filing a motor vehicle crash report is your responsibility as a driver, whether you were injured or at fault in the crash. Failure to fill out a motor vehicle crash report has consequences. Drivers can have their licenses suspended by the RMV. They may also face criminal penalties.

Motor vehicle crash operator reports are the first step if you need to have your car repaired, replaced or if you have been injured. Police will consider the crash report you submit as part of their investigation in determining who was at fault and whether to cite that person. A traffic citation or criminal charges can support your claim seeking financial compensation for medical expenses, lost wages and other damages.

Filling Out The Report – What Drivers, Passengers and Others Should Know

If you are seriously injured, you cannot gather evidence and information at the accident scene. The investigation will largely fall to the police department which responds.

But if you can collect information, your cell phone is the best tool you have after a car crash. Take photos of everything, from your own vehicle to the roadway and the other vehicle.

This is where it becomes valuable to review the Massachusetts motor vehicle crash report before an accident. By doing so, you will have a better understanding what information to capture on the scene. As you can see, the report requests the other driver’s license and insurance information. It also asks drivers to report:

  • Crash Location
  • Vehicle You Were Driving
  • You and Your Passengers
  • Other Vehicles Involved in the Crash
  • Non-Motorist(s) Involved
  • Crash Conditions
  • Crash Diagram
  • Witness Information
  • Property Damage Information
  • Description of What Happened

Read the motor vehicle crash report for more information on each of these points. The report contains a section dealing with pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents.

What’s Next

When you have been injured, receive medical attention first. Then you can file a police report, consult a Boston car accident lawyer or contact your auto insurance company if you were operating a motor vehicle when the accident occurred. You should decide which order based on the severity of your injuries. We recommend consulting a lawyer first if you have been injured.  Our lawyers can explain your legal rights, answer your questions and assist in handling all the important steps, including contact with the auto insurance companies. We have represented clients in communities across Massachusetts, from Boston to the North Shore, South Shore, Cape Cod, the New Bedford area and Worcester.

Avoid all contact, whether by phone or email, with the other driver’s auto insurance company. It is also recommended that you and your family stay off social media. Do not confide in friends or co-workers about a car accident until you have spoken to a lawyer and made some progress in your physical recovery.

For additional tips, please visit Breakstone, White & Gluck’s website page, “What to Do When You Have a Car Accident.”

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Massachusetts Car Accident Attorneys

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck represents individuals and families who have been injured by negligent drivers in Massachusetts. Clients turn to us for our experience and results in cases involving car accidents, truck crashes, bus accidents and pedestrian accidents. 

If you have been injured by a negligent driver, learn your legal rights. Call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Boston Personal Injury Attorney David W. White is interviewed by Boston 25 News

Attorney David W. White was interviewed by Boston 25 News for a story which aired last night, “Mass. ‘Pothole’ Law Leaving Many With a Hole in Their Wallet.” The 25 Investigates team found cities and towns in Massachusetts are not compensating drivers for motor vehicle damage caused by winter potholes on municipal roads. Surprising many is that state law favors this position.

“You would think the law would be a little more supportive of people who suffer damages to their cars because we can’t maintain our roads,” Attorney White said in the interview. He later added, “The city can say you were 1% negligent yourself and that is an absolute defense to the case. And they’ll win, they will win.”

The investigative team found a handful of exceptions when cities actually paid drivers for pothole damage. But most drivers in Massachusetts had to foot their own bill, at an average cost of $306, according to AAA. The costs can be much higher for some drivers.

If a driver is successful in making a claim, there is a $5,000 maximum compensation.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Car Accident Lawyers
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing those injured by negligent and reckless driving in Massachusetts. If you have been injured in a car accident or a truck collision, seek immediate medical treatment and consult our attorneys to learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Driver and an older pedestrian at a Massachusetts crosswalk

Massachusetts state officials are working to improve safety for older pedestrians.

When the snow falls, Massachusetts becomes more treacherous for everyone who walks. Older pedestrians are particularly vulnerable.

Massachusetts now has more than one million residents who are 65 or older – or roughly 15 percent of our population, according to a recent report, “Risk Factors for Older Pedestrian Injuries and Fatalities in MA.” The report was prepared for the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) in August 2019.

As Massachusetts residents live longer, many are more likely to be out walking for health or transportation. The state report identifies common risks to older pedestrians:


Winter Months. Researchers studied 4,472 pedestrian crashes across Massachusetts between 2006 and 2015, reporting crashes involving older pedestrians peak at 5 p.m. and during the month of December. November and January are also high risk months for older pedestrians, as they navigate darker conditions. When snow and ice is not cleared, sidewalks, parking lots and driveways can also contribute to unsafe conditions, as do drivers who fail to look for pedestrians and stop at crosswalks.

Causes of Older Pedestrian Crashes. Drivers who caused older pedestrian crashes were often inattentive, failed to yield the right of way or had trouble with visibility.

Where Older Pedestrians Were Hit. Older pedestrians were often hit at crosswalks at intersections, where they should have safety protections.

Where Older Pedestrians Crashes Occur. Researchers found Cambridge, Fall River, Lynn and New Bedford among the the top communities for highest number of older pedestrian crashes and the highest per capita.

Changing Face of Pedestrian Accidents. Crash rates involving “younger old” pedestrians – those between age 55 and 74 – increased. Crash rates among older pedestrians (75 and older) remained consistent.

Community Health. Communities with higher rates of disability reported greater rates of older pedestrian crashes. These included the urban neighborhoods of Boston, Lawrence and Chelsea.

Community Amenities. Communities with a high number of cultural amenities within walking distance – such as libraries and fitness centers – had higher crash rates among older pedestrians.

Not Just Older Pedestrians in Massachusetts. This state report comes as pedestrian fatalities rise across the country. Last March, the Governors Highway Safety Association announced a 35 percent increase in pedestrian deaths from 10 years ago (Streets Blog). This was the highest number of pedestrian fatalities since 1990.

Nationally, research shows 48 percent of pedestrian fatalities involved victims 50 and older, according to the Massachusetts study. Meanwhile, Massachusetts reports half of all pedestrian fatalities involve a pedestrian 55 and older.


Report Recommendations

The state report recommends work to protect older pedestrians be tied in with the Governor’s Council to Address Aging in Massachusetts, which was established in 2017. Among other advisories, the state report also sought infrastructure improvements in certain communities and creation of a winter public awareness campaign aimed at protecting older pedestrians.


Our Safety Tips for Pedestrians During Winter

Wear Neon. Pedestrians can make themselves more visible to traffic by wearing neon colors and neon reflective tape. Consider buying neon jackets, vests, hats and gloves to stand out.

Our Safety Tips for Drivers During Winter

Stop at Crosswalks. Make eye contact with pedestrians at crosswalks. Stop as they cross.

Other Drivers. Stop if you are approaching a driver who has stopped for a pedestrian at a crosswalk. Allow the pedestrian to completely cross the street.

Avoid Night Driving At Times. If you are overtired or are having trouble seeing at night, don’t drive. Make an appointment to have a doctor check your vision. Wear your eyeglasses as prescribed when you drive.

Limit Alcohol Consumption. Never drive while intoxicated. Use the designated driver system.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

With over 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been consistently recognized for our results in personal injury cases in Massachusetts, including by Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and U.S. News Best Law Firms. If you or a loved one has been injured by someone’s negligence, it is in your best interests to consult an experienced personal injury lawyer. For a free legal consultation, contact our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Woman talking on a cell phone and at risk for causing a distracted driving accident.Massachusetts has finally approved distracted driving legislation. Gov. Charlie Baker signed on Monday, establishing New England as a hands-free driving zone.

According to The Boston Globe, the new distracted driving law will take effect on Feb. 23, 2020. Massachusetts police officers will issue warnings until the end of March, then citations will begin. This transition period is meant to help drivers get used to the new law. Become familiar with Bluetooth and other “hands-free” technologies now, and if you plan to use an electronic device for navigation, purchase a mount for your windshield or dashboard.

Until now, most drivers have been able to pick up cell phones to talk in Boston and across Massachusetts. However, under the 2010 texting while driving ban, drivers cannot text, read emails or use social media. This has helped deter some drivers, but overall, not enough without a handheld cell phone ban.

Come next year, Massachusetts drivers can only use cell phones under limited circumstances. Drivers can use electronic devices on “hands-free” mode (though they do get a single-swipe to activate or de-activate the “hands-free” mode). As we mentioned, they must use Bluetooth or a similar “hands-free” technology and mount navigation devices.

Police officers can stop drivers as a primary offense, which is more leeway than they have in enforcing seat belt use. Officers will be required to collect data – including age, race and gender – when they issue a warning or citation. The state will use this data to monitor potential racial profiling by police departments.

The new Massachusetts distracted driving law brings notable consequences. These alone are good financial motivators for putting down your cell phone.

Under the new law, drivers will be fined $100 for the first offense, $250 for the second offense and $500 for the third offense (and any subsequent offense). Second-offenders have to participate in a driver safety course. Drivers can also face an insurance surcharge.

Safety is the most important point. Cell phone use is responsible for more than 1 of 4 car crashes, according to the National Safety Council. Distracted drivers killed 3,166 people across the U.S. in 2017, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. These are hard numbers to hear.

Massachusetts now joins every other New England state in improving hands-free cell phone legislation. Maine was the last state to approve legislation this past summer. According to the National Conference of State Legislature, 20 states already have laws which ban handheld cell phone use, so Massachusetts could be the 21st.

Read the law: AN ACT REQUIRING THE HANDS-FREE USE OF MOBILE TELEPHONES WHILE DRIVING, 2019 Mass. Acts 122

Boston Car Accident Lawyers – About Breakstone, White & Gluck

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston car accident lawyers have over 100 years combined experience and provide expert investigation into car crashes involving negligent cell phone use. We represent clients who have been injured by negligent driving across Massachusetts, including in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Quincy and Braintree. South of Boston, our attorneys have represented numerous clients, including those injured in Brockton, Plymouth and Cape Cod, as well as in Framingham, Worcester and north of Boston, Salem, Peabody, Newburyport and Saugus.

If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. Call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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It is our pleasure to announce that Super Lawyers has recognized Breakstone, White & Gluck in its 2019 rankings. This was the 16th year our attorneys have been recognized.

Marc L. BreakstoneMarc L. Breakstone has been selected to the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and the 2019 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list, recognized as a top-rated medical malpractice attorney in Boston.

DW-250David W. White has been selected to the 2019 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list, recognized as a top-rated personal injury attorney in Boston. Attorney White has previously been selected to the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawers seven times and to the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers  three times.

Ronald E. GluckRonald E. Gluck has been selected to the 2019 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list, recognized as a top-rated personal injury attorney in Boston. 

Super Lawyers is a rating service which highlights outstanding lawyers from more than 70 practice areas. Selections are made using a multiphase process, including a statewide survey of lawyers, independent research and evaluation and peer reviews from within a practice area. 

Super Lawyers recognizes the top 5 percent of lawyers from that process. Another 2.5 percent of attorneys are selected to the Rising Stars list, which showcases talented attorneys under age 40. 

About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Over 100 Years Combined Experience in Personal Injury Plaintiff Representation
Breakstone, White & Gluck is respected across Massachusetts for our commitment to our clients and our results.  We have been representing plaintiffs in personal injury and medical malpractice cases as a firm since 1992. Each of our partners has over 30 years of experience.

Our firm is experienced in handling all types of personal injury cases, including those involving catastrophic accidents, wrongful death, motor vehicle accidents, product liability, premises liability, construction accidents, explosions, spinal cord injuries, head injuries and traumatic brain injuries. Our attorneys are regularly interviewed in the local media for their expertise in these specialties and Massachusetts insurance laws.

We have always been active in the Massachusetts legal community and are dedicated to sharing our knowledge with other attorneys through continuing legal education and professional organizations. Attorney Marc L. Breakstone and Attorney Ronald E. Gluck serve on the Board of Trustees for the Massachusetts Academy of Trial Attorneys (MATA), while Attorney David W. White is a past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association. We are also committed to giving back and working to prevent injuries. Through our Project KidSafe campaign, our attorneys have given away more than 25,000 free bicycle helmets to children across the state of Massachusetts. 

We invite you to visit our website to read about our work and watch testimonials from past clients.

Free Legal Consultation – Breakstone, White & Gluck

If you have been injured, you should speak to an experienced Boston personal injury lawyer and learn your legal rights for seeking financial compensation. For a free consultation, contact us at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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20 mph speed limit

Drivers, double check your speed next time you visit Cambridge. In mid-November, the city plans a slow down to 20 mph on most city-owned streets. The city says, when in doubt, go 20 mph. 

The City of Cambridge announced the new 20 mph speed limit this week, a decision made in response to residents’ concerns about speeding vehicles and the risk for pedestrian accidents and injuries to cyclists. Cambridge follows Boston and Somerville in pursuing 20 mph speeds on certain city streets. Each city has a VisionZero safety campaign and is working to eliminate traffic fatalities. 

Cambridge first lowered speed limits from 30 to 25 mph on most city-owned streets in December 2016. The Massachusetts Legislature granted cities and towns this authority earlier that year with passage of the Municipal Modernization Law. Specifically, communities were given the authority to lower speeds from 30 to 25 mph in locally-owned thickly settled areas.

In response, dozens of communities adopted 25 mph speed limits to reduce the risk of accidents. Few have pursued 20 mph – yet.

But according to the City of Cambridge’s announcement, the law allows communities to establish 20 mph “safety zones” in the interest of public safety. Cambridge will be installing 660 new “safety zone” signs. 

The City of Somerville has also taken advantage of this provision of the law. Last we knew, the City of Boston – which was the first to pursue 25 mph, then 20 mph speeds – was still working on the issue. Here is our last update on Massachusetts speed limits  (though please note: there may have been additional action since then).

Check a street: Not every street in Cambridge will be impacted. Larger streets like Brattle Street and Cambridge Street will stick with current speeds. Roads under state management – such as Memorial Drive – will not change. You can check out the map here: www.cambridgema.gov/20mph.

It’s worth noting Cambridge’s squares – including Harvard Square, Lechmere Square and Porter Square – won’t see any change. The city lowered speeds to 20 mph back in early 2018.

Cambridge’s Influence on Traffic Safety

Cambridge has been ambitious in making traffic safety improvements. In addition to lowering speeds, the city announced a new City Safety Ordinance earlier this year. The city made the commitment to add permanent separated bike lanes whenever it reconstructs roads identified in the Cambridge Bicycle Plan. With full build out, this would give the city an impressive 20 miles of protected bike lanes. Cambridge Bicycle Safety, a local group, said this could reduce 40 percent of Cambridge bicycle accidents, the one which occur outside intersections.

The city, while committed, does concede there may be cases when these bike lanes aren’t possible due to road conditions.

The bottom line is Cambridge has such a strong influence on transportation in the Boston region, just by virtue of its geography. It borders Somerville, Boston, Arlington, Belmont and Watertown. And because it’s one of the largest cities in Massachusetts, its work to promote safety will be watched across the state and nationally.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Pedestrian Car Accident Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented accident victims in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts since 1992. Our attorneys are dedicated to our clients and our results. We provide the prompt and thorough investigation required after pedestrian car accidents and bicycle crashes

If you have been injured by a driver, we offer a free legal consultation to advise you on whether you may pursue a financial claim for your injuries and other losses. Consult one of our personal injury attorneys today at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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20191015-teendriving National Teen Driver Safety Week will begin Sunday. While your teen may learn about this topic at school, parents can also become involved and learn alongside teens. Parents influence their children in many ways. If you can influence the discussion on safe driving, you could save a life.

It’s a well-known and tragic fact: motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for teens. In 2017 alone, 2,526 teens were killed in crashes, according to the to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

This is the 12th year that National Teen Driver Safety Week has been observed. Two Pennsylvania lawmakers, Congressman Charlie Dent (R-PA) and Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), introduced the legislation establishing the annual event in October 2007.

National Teen Driver Safety Week highlights many topics, including graduated licensing laws, distracted driving, speeding and obeying fundamental traffic laws. It also provides resources on helping teens through their first few weeks as a licensed driver, along with handling stressful and emotional driving situations, including car accidents. Visit teendriversource.org to learn more.

State Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) Laws

We are going to write about graduating licensing laws because these are the foundation for teaching teens to drive safely. All 50 states have a law in place, but these vary in restrictions, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). Florida was the first state to adopt a graduated licensing law for teens in 1996. Massachusetts lawmakers approved a Junior Operator Law in 2007, which increased driving training requirements and penalties.

The law places restrictions on teens with licenses between the ages of 16 ½ and 18. First, as you may know if you are a parent, teens have to obtain a learner’s permit. Next comes 30 hours of classroom training on Massachusetts motor vehicle laws and safe driving techniques. Beyond the classroom, there is another 18 hours of instruction, including 12 hours behind-the-wheel and 6 hours of observation.

Here are some of the restrictions under the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law:

Passenger Restriction. Teens are not allowed to drive with other passengers under age 18 until they have been licensed for 6 months. There is an exception for siblings.

Night Driving Restriction. Another restriction is teens cannot drive between the hours of 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Cell Phone Use Restriction. Teen drivers cannot use cell phones or mobile electronic devices. Texting while driving is also prohibited, for all other drivers in Massachusetts.

Teens can expect to receive a significant license suspension if they violate these restrictions. For instance, there is a 60-day license suspension if your teen is caught driving between 12:30 and 5 a.m. There is a 90-day suspension for a first offense of speeding. For the second offense, there is a full-year suspension.

Massachusetts’ Junior Operator Law violations

Visit teendriversource.org for more on National Teen Driver Safety Week.

Fewer Teen Drivers
In recent years, Massachusetts has actually reported a reduction in teen deaths and non-fatal injuries in drivers age 16 and 17. This is a positive development, except when you look closer. There has actually been an increase in hospital rates for crash injuries in drivers between 18 and 20 years old. The state and a Boston Globe analysis attribute this to the fact that many teens are now waiting to get their license until age 18. By doing so, teens can skip driver’s education, which became more expensive and time-consuming when the Junior Operator Law took effect.

If your teen delayed getting their license, make sure they take time to learn the fundamentals and get the practice they need. Driver’s education is a critical component to developing a safe driver.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Experienced Boston Car Accident Lawyers
The Boston personal injury lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck specialize in representing those injured in motor vehicle crashes in Massachusetts. With over 100 years combined experience, our car accident lawyers have the expertise to guide our clients to the best financial results in case involving motor vehicle accidents and truck crashes.

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

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