Articles Posted in Pedestrian Accidents

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Local communities are restricting road use to stop the flood of drivers who use Waze and other traffic apps.

Commuting is a battle in Massachusetts, full of frustrations and hazards. But residents, communities and lawmakers continue to fight back to improve safety.

On Monday, the state House of Representatives considered a controversial bill proposing new fines for jaywalking and jaywalking while distracted (or as The Boston Globe writes, “Jay-texters”). Meanwhile, WBZ reports communities are closing off roads in response to traffic apps such as Waze and Google Maps.

parking lot accidents
There was a sad story in Westford over the weekend, when a woman was hit and killed in a Market Basket parking lot. Police are still investigating, but according to media reports, the 64-year-old woman was putting groceries into the back of her Toyota Highlander SUV, which was hit by another vehicle. The impact caused her SUV to roll back on top of her.

This is not an isolated accident. Parking lot accidents and backovers are frequently reported in every community in Massachusetts, from Boston and Cambridge to Worcester and Framingham. But the latest accident raises the questions: have parking lots become as dangerous as the roads? And what can be done to improve safety? We should all be able to shop safely.

AAA reports 14 percent of all car accidents take place in parking lots. These can range from minor incidents, such as fender benders or someone opening a car door and hitting another vehicle. Other times, someone is seriously injured or killed, from backovers or speeding drivers.

20141118_crosswalkPedestrian safety was the focus of several NBC Boston reports last night. One segment was called “Boston’s Crosswalk Crisis” and another was called “Cro$$walk Crisis: Private Funding for Public Ways.” They are worth viewing for anyone who lives or works in Boston. A few figures from the reports:

  • Pedestrian deaths rose 15 percent in Boston in 2016.
  • Nine pedestrians have died this year, up 30 percent from this time last year.

Boy at a crosswalk, holding a grown-ups' handAs we approach summer, the message for Massachusetts drivers is to please slow down. Last month, in a matter of days, several car accidents seriously injured or killed pedestrians, some in crosswalks.

On May 19, just after 7 a.m., an Acton 8th grader was struck by a van in a crosswalk at the intersection of Main Street and Hayward Road. She suffered serious injuries, leaving the scene by medical helicopter.

On May 22, a minivan crashed into two elderly women in Sandwich. The women, ages 70 and 88, went into cardiac arrest and later died at Cape Cod Hospital. At the time of impact, the women were in the crosswalk at the intersection of Route 6A and Merchants Road.

Elderly couple on crosswalkThe Boston Herald has renewed concerns about pedestrian safety with a report that nine pedestrians were hit in Boston on the same day.

On Tuesday, January 17th, the city saw its worst day for pedestrian accidents since at least June 2015, according to a Herald analysis. The first pedestrian accident occurred at a McDonald’s restaurant on Massachusetts Avenue in the South End. This accident occurred shortly after 9:30 a.m. The other eight accidents occurred between 4:30 p.m. and about 9 p.m., in Dorchester, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury, Brighton and Hyde Park.

Pedestrian Accidents: The Numbers
Pedestrian accidents are a concern for everyone on the roads. In Massachusetts, we do a lot of walking. According to WalkBoston, more than 10 percent of all trips in Massachusetts are taken on foot (this is more than 40 percent greater than the national average).

When it comes to work, 12 percent of Massachusetts residents commute by walking. The number is higher in some communities. In Cambridge, 24 percent of residents walk to work.

According to the Boston Herald, pedestrian injuries are on the rise in Boston. In 2016, 904 pedestrians were injured in crashes, a 15 percent increase over 2015. Twelve pedestrians died in 2016, up from nine in 2015.

Mayor Marty Walsh has formed a Vision Zero task force with a goal of eliminating fatal and serious traffic fatalities in Boston by 2030. As part of the Vision Zero work, the city lowered its default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph in early January. The change does not impact state-owned roads. If you live or work in Boston, learn more about Boston’s speed limit change.

Pedestrian Safety Tips

Use Sidewalks. The sidewalk is the safest place for pedestrians. If no sidewalks are available, walk on the left side, against traffic so that drivers have a chance to make eye contact with you.

At Night. Carry a flashlight and wear a reflective safety vest if you walk at night or in the early morning.

Use Crosswalks and Traffic Signals. Use crosswalks and press the Walk button when available. Drivers are required to stop for you under Massachusetts law. Other cars are not allowed to pass the stopped vehicle.

Pay Attention to Safety Alerts. Winter is a harsh time for pedestrians. Pay attention to safety alerts and travel warnings from the State of Massachusetts, the MBTA, public schools, communities and your employers.

Beware of Snowbanks and Snowplows. Tall snowbanks obstruct the view between drivers and pedestrians. Wear a neon safety vest if you must walk in travel in these areas and pay attention to traffic. After a storm, expect to see snowplows on streets and working in parking lots. Take it slow.

Beware of Construction Areas. Areas such as North Station in Boston are now much harder for pedestrians to travel due to construction. Pay attention to notices about construction schedules and avoid building activity and construction workers whenever possible.

Watch for Cars Backing Up. Pedestrian accidents can happen when drivers neglect to check for pedestrians as they pull out of a parking space or a driveway. Watch out for these drivers and stop to let them back out.

From Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Experience
20170130-youtube-busaccidentOur attorneys have over 100 years combined experience representing pedestrians who have been injured by the negligence of drivers and defective roadway conditions. Our law firm represented one pedestrian who was struck by a MBTA bus in a crosswalk in 2005. The pedestrian suffered serious injuries and required amputation of her right leg. The case went to trial and was appealed by the MBTA. The final award was $7.1 million for our client. See the re-enactment video we prepared for trial. It shows one way pedestrians can be put at serious risk.

 

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breakstone_150Attorney Marc Breakstone recently reached a $1.375 million settlement for an elderly man who was hit by an MBTA bus in a pedestrian crash while crossing Dudley Street in Roxbury. The man suffered a traumatic brain injury and bone fractures.

The on-board bus video showed the pedestrian bus accident was preventable. The plaintiff was clearly visible to the operator, who did not respond for several seconds. The investigation revealed the bus driver was traveling above the speed limit.

The video also confirmed the bus driver gave a false account to MBTA Police. The driver said the man had run out from behind parked vehicles. But the video showed there were no parked vehicles obstructing the view and the victim was not running.

The case was settled at mediation in May 2016 and later reported in Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly. Read the case report.

Our Experience: One of the Largest Bus Accident Verdicts in Massachusetts
The attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck have over 100 years combined experience representing those who have been injured by the negligence of others in car, truck and bus accidents. Bus accident cases are complex and many attorneys do not have experience investigating these cases or representing those who have been injured or killed. But our attorneys have this unique experience; we have handled motor vehicle and bus accident cases from the insurance claims level through trial and appeal.

Many cases can be settled prior to trial, but not every case. In 2008, Attorney Marc Breakstone took a client’s case against the MBTA to Suffolk Superior Court. After a two-week trial, his client was awarded $5.4 million, including interest. It was believed to be one of the largest verdicts ever in Massachusetts for an injury of its kind.

The MBTA filed a motion for a new trial and was denied. It then appealed the case. The state’s Appeals Court affirmed the judgment and the Supreme Judicial Court denied a petition for further review. By the time the MBTA had exhausted its options, the judgment rose to $7.1 million, with interest and medical expenses and lost earning capacity. Read about this case.

About Attorney Marc Breakstone
Marc L. Breakstone has more than 30 years of experience practicing law in Boston. He has been selected as one of the Top 100 Super Lawyers in New England and Top 100 Super Lawyers in Massachusetts. He has also been selected by his peers as one of the top medical malpractice plaintiff’s lawyers in the Super Lawyer balloting. In 2002, Attorney Breakstone was honored as one of ten “Lawyers of the Year” by Massachusetts Lawyers WeeklyMore on Marc Breakstone.

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Walking, even in the crosswalk, is becoming more dangerous.

The Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) is projecting a 10 percent increase in pedestrian fatalities in traffic crashes across the U.S. last year. This marks the largest increase in four decades, since data was first collected.

The official tally shows an estimated 2,368 pedestrians were killed between January and June of 2015. Researchers expect annual figures to reach the 10 percent mark.

20160113_crosswalk-300.jpgDuring the first two weeks of 2016, Massachusetts has already seen several serious pedestrian accidents.

Last weekend, a 56-year-old security guard leaving work was killed in a hit-and-run accident on West Boylston Street in Worcester. Police have charged a 21-year-old man with motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation and other violations.

Last week, a 68-year-old pedestrian was killed in South Hadley, as he crossed the street in front of his home. In that case, the driver remained on the scene and police opened an investigation.

9041392_m-400.jpgState lawmakers will be asked to consider a truck side guard law to protect pedestrians and cyclists.

MassBike, the state’s leading bicycle advocacy organization, recently offered an update on proposed safety legislation for 2016. The Joint Committee on Transportation will hold a public hearing on the proposed legislation, including the truck side guard law, on Wednesday at the State House.

Truck Side Guard Bill H. 3019/S. 1810

halloween-kids-c.jpgMany of us are looking forward to the ghosts, goblins and treats of Halloween this weekend. But while a lot of fun, Halloween is also one of the most dangerous days of the year for pedestrians, particularly children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) routinely reports that traffic accidents involving drunk drivers and pedestrians increase on Halloween.

For children, the risk of being hit by a car and killed more than doubles on Halloween, according to Safe Routes Worldwide.

We want you to have fun and to be safe on Halloween. Please read our safety tips before trick-or-treating:

1) Stay Visible to Cars. Buy neon reflective clothing for your child and yourself. This can be a vest, an arm band or reflective tape. Also carry flashlights, one per person.

2) Costume Check. Make sure your child can safely walk without tripping in their costume and see through any masks.

3) Stay With Your Child. Go trick-or-treating with your child and really pay attention as they walk from house to house. Tag along if they go with friends.

4) Remind Your Child To Stay Off The Street. You probably already tell your child this daily, but really impress this upon them again for Halloween and reward them for doing it.

5) Plan Your Halloween. Many trick-or-treaters travel between 4 p.m. and 9 p.m. This year, Halloween falls on a Saturday night, so activity may extend later and there may be more gatherings. Find out what will be happening in your community through social media or ask your local town office or neighbors. You want to know what to expect, whether you are trick-or-treating or going out to a party or weekend job.

6) Remember the Cyclists. Watch out for cyclists as you drive or take your children trick-or-treating. Pedestrians should stay on the sidewalk, even if it gets crowded, and save the side of the road for the cyclists.

7) Familiarize Yourself with the Halloween Route. If you are trick-or-treating in another neighborhood, take a drive through at night with your child beforehand, even if you are familiar with the area. Take note of where the roads are well-lit, the location of crosswalks, and how long the roads stretch.

8) Look for Crosswalks. Always cross the street at crosswalks, when available.

Reminder for Drivers. Try to get home early if you can, before the trick-or-treaters arrive or stay out until after they finish. Commit to travel slowly, put your cell phone away and do not drive under the influence of alcohol. If you plan to drink, find a designated driver or bring cab fare.
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