Articles Posted in Truck Accidents

truck driving in Boston Fenway area

A truck travels along Brookline Avenue in Boston last summer, near the site of a fatal truck crash killing a cyclist last week.

It was heart-breaking to watch the TV news coverage last week, the scenes following a cement truck crash which killed a cyclist in Boston’s Fenway neighborhood. The 69-year-old victim, a librarian in Brookline, was hit at the intersection of Brookline Avenue and Park Drive on Friday afternoon.

As State Police investigate the fatal bicycle accident, we should all be concerned about trucks. If you are a pedestrian or cyclist in Boston or Cambridge, you have likely witnessed a truck crash or near crash. Or the sheer terror of having a truck come too close.

It is hard not to travel in fear. Last week, in addition to the cement truck crash, a City of Boston truck plowed over a sidewalk, hit a pedestrian and smashed into the side of Liu Yi Shou Hotspot Boston. The restaurant is located on the corner of Washington and Kneeland streets in Chinatown, near Tufts Medical Center. The pedestrian was treated for non-life threatening injuries while the restaurant sustained heavy structural damage.

Because trucks are heavy-weight vehicles, drivers must be properly trained and use reasonable care when operating. When they neglect to do so, pedestrians and cyclists are in danger. Drivers and occupants of passenger cars are also at great risk. And we have seen trucks damage and leave behind deadly conditions in Boston tunnels.

Our attorneys have extensive experience in investigating truck crashes which have seriously injured or killed cyclists.

Last year, Attorney Ron Gluck of Breakstone, White & Gluck settled a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of a cyclist who was killed by a truck driver in a hit-and-run crash. The driver hit our 38-year-old client at the intersection of Massachusetts Avenue and Beacon Street. Read about the case in Boston Magazine.

Truck Accident Statistics

  • Nationwide, fatal truck crashes have increased by 3 percent, from 4,704 to 4,213, according to the 2016 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2016 report by the U.S. Department of Transportation.
  • Truck drivers were speeding in 6.9 percent of truck crashes involving a fatality. They were engaged in distractions in 6.1 percent of fatal truck crashes. Failure to yield the right of way resulted in 4 percent of truck crashes resulting in a wrongful death. These were the leading causes; violations were not reported in many of the accidents (2016 Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts 2016).
  • In 2016, 840 cyclists were killed in traffic crashes, a 2 percent rise over 2015. More significantly, this continued a trend of near two percent increases and marked a 25-year high for fatal cyclist accidents in the U.S. Cyclists age 55-59 and 60-64 had the highest fatality rates. (Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration,Traffic Safety Facts 2016 Data: Bicyclists and Other Cyclists).
  • Single-vehicle truck crashes killed 85 cyclists in 2016, just about 10 percent of all traffic deaths (NHTSA  Traffic Safety Facts).

How Cyclists Are Being Injured By Trucks

When cyclists are killed in collisions with motor vehicles, they are most likely to have been hit by the front of the vehicle, according to the NHTSA FARS data. Cyclists were hit from the front in 78 percent of all cyclist vs. motor vehicle deaths, including in 89 percent of accidents involving cars and 83 percent of accidents involving light trucks, SUVs, pick-up vehicles or vans.

The numbers change when you look at fatal accidents involving large trucks and cyclists. While 48 percent of cyclists who died were hit from the front of large trucks, 22 percent were struck by the right side of a truck, while 9 percent were hit on the left side. Another 7 percent were by the back of the truck.

Truck Sideguard Ordinances and Legislation in Massachusetts

Some cities and states want to encourage truck safety by passing ordinances that require trucks to be equipped with side guards. This covers the area between a truck’s wheels, where cyclists and pedestrians can become trapped. Two cities in Massachusetts have already passed ordinances for city-contracted trucks and large vehicles. The ordinances also require trucks to use convex mirrors to help them see blind spots.

Boston was the first U.S. city to pass an ordinance in 2014. Somerville has since followed, passing the Somerville Ordinance to Safeguard Vulnerable Road Users. A statewide law could be next. A proposal now on Beacon Hill is asking lawmakers to mandate side guards on all city- and state-owned vehicles by 2020. Contractors would be required to meet the new standard by 2022.

Free Legal Consultation: 800-379-1244
Breakstone, White & Gluck has more than 100 years combined experience representing victims in personal injury, wrongful death and medical malpractice cases. We are known for our Project KidSafe campaign and our work to encourage children to wear bicycle helmets to prevent head injuries. We are also known for our aggressive representation for cyclists after bicycle accidents and families pursuing wrongful death cases after the loss of a loved one.

If you or someone in your family has been injured, contact us today for a free legal consultation at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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WBZ-TV News FootageMassachusetts State Police are investigating a tragic crash which killed a female cyclist today in a heavily congested Boston intersection. The bicycle crash happened in the city’s Fenway neighborhood, less than a half mile from Fenway Park. Witnesses described a frightening scene as emergency responders attempted to resuscitate the woman, according to WBZ-TV. The woman was transported to Brigham & Women’s Hospital, where she sadly died from her injuries. The woman’s bike was left crushed in the road as State Police blocked off two traffic lanes to investigate.

The cement truck reportedly struck the woman on Brookline Avenue at Park Drive around 1:30 p.m., according to Boston.com. Just before 4 p.m., State Police reported the woman had died. The cement truck read, “Boston Sand & Gravel Co.” The driver reportedly stayed on the scene and was also transported to a hospital for evaluation. At this time, State Police have not released the name of the woman, the driver or confirmed the cement truck’s owner.

News photos showed the truck crash that killed the cyclist was near a major traffic block, near Emmanuel College, Boston University’s Fenway Campus and the Emerald Necklace walkway. Nearby is Longwood Medical area, including Brigham & Women’s Hospital, Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center and Children’s Hospital.

Police focused their investigation on the center of the large intersection, measuring marks in the road, according to WBZ-TV. The bicycle was crushed and the seat was detached. The cement truck remained on site for several hours before being towed away.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck

Breakstone, White & Gluck is one of the most respected personal injury law firms in Boston. With more than 100 years combined experience, our attorneys represent cyclists and their families in personal injury and wrongful death lawsuits. With a special expertise in investigating truck crashes and an expansive knowledge of the trucking industry, our attorneys have a record of successfully negotiating the best financial results for our clients. Time and again, we have effectively presented the evidence and negotiated the maximum coverage on insurance policies. If you have been injured, learn your rights. For a free legal consultation, visit 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

Breakstone, White & Gluck’s Experience

We invite you to read about one of our recent cases below or in Boston Magazine. Attorney Ron Gluck was recently interviewed about his work for the family of a cyclist who was struck and killed by a truck in Back Bay.

$3,500,000: Truck Collision Kills Motorcyclist; Wrongful Death
$3,000,000: Tractor-Trailer Strikes Car, Severe Orthopedic Injuries
$2,500,000: Car Struck by Truck, Plaintiff Suffers Multiple Injuries

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snow plow accidents can happen in parking lot

A snow plow crash killed an Easton man this week. Police are currently investigating.

As we battled snow and cold, there were two fatal snow plow accidents this week, including one death here in Massachusetts. In Easton, a snow plow hit and killed a 64-year-old man who was changing a tire on Route 138. Meanwhile, in Illinois, another man was snow blowing his driveway when a plow truck backed into him. Both men were pronounced dead on the scene.

These were not the only snow plow accidents, either. In Johnson County, Kansas, a snowplow driver veered off the road and died in a single-car crash. In New York, a state DOT snow plow and vehicle collided in the Town of Aurelius in Cayuga County. Traffic was stopped as two people were airlifted for medical treatment.

Woman talking on cell phone in car

Hand-held cell phone use would become illegal under new legislation proposed by the Massachusetts’ governor’s office.

Many of us expected Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito would file legislation to limit drivers to hands-free cell phone use this year. But the Baker-Polito Administration went much further last week when it filed, “An Act Relative to Improving Safety on the Roads of the Commonwealth.” In announcing the legislation, the administration reported more than 15,000 people were seriously injured in Massachusetts traffic accidents between 2012 and 2016. Another 1,820 people were killed, including 14 road workers.

The Massachusetts Legislature now has a great deal to consider in coming months. Because these proposals will impact us all, we encourage you to follow the media coverage and share your thoughts with your local legislators and town officials.

Cell Phones. In 2010, Massachusetts banned texting while driving. There have been similar proposals, but no action on handheld cell phones. Meanwhile, distracted driving accidents have increased, claiming 3,450 lives in 2016, according to the NHTSA.

The Baker-Polito proposal would require drivers who use electronic devices to go “hands-free” and make use of hands-free driving equipment, such as Bluetooth. Drivers would have to use voice commands instead of reaching for hand-held cell phones. The proposal does allow “a single tap or swipe to activate, deactivate or initiate hands-free mode.”

If this proposal is approved, Massachusetts would be the 16th state to have a hands-free cell phone law, joining all the New England states.

Primary Seat Belt Enforcement. According to the GHSA, 34 states have primary seat belt laws for drivers and front-seat passengers.

Massachusetts has a secondary seat belt law, meaning police officers cannot simply pull a motor vehicle over for a seat belt violation. A police officer must first observe another moving violation, such as speeding or running a red light.

A primary enforcement law for seat belts has been a hard sell in Massachusetts. But we urge you and your family to use the debate as a reminder to wear a seat belt every time you ride. According to the NHTSA, seat belts saved an estimated 14,668 lives in traffic accidents in 2016. Wearing a seat belt is an easy choice we can all make to protect ourselves.

Road Workers. The Massachusetts Department of Transportation would be granted authority to lower speed limits in construction zones. Fines would double in areas where workers are.

Truck Sideguards. In 2014, the Boston City Council approved a truck sideguard ordinance for all city-contracted trucks – the first in the nation. The governor’s proposal builds on this, mandating sideguards for all state-owned trucks and vehicles over 10,000 pounds. Along with sideguards, trucks must be equipped with convex and cross-over mirrors to increase driver’s visibility. If approved, trucks would have to be equipped by Jan. 1, 2020. All state and municipal contractors would have to do the same by 2022.

The sideguards are intended to protect the area between the truck’s front and back wheels, blocking it off to cyclists and pedestrians who can be caught underneath. Massachusetts has seen numerous cyclists who have been seriously injured or killed by these types of truck accidents.

Electric Scooters. The proposal would start regulating electric scooters like bicycles and allow scooter rentals to move ahead in local communities. This has been a point of contention in the Boston area as bikeshare and rideshare companies are eager to start scooter rentals here. Cities have argued that scooters are illegal because they don’t have directional signals as stated under current state law.

Ignition Interlock Devices. When drivers are convicted of operating under the influence or drunk driving in Massachusetts, they are permitted to apply for a hardship license. With this proposal, anyone who applies for a hardship license must use an ignition interlock device for a minimum of six months. The proposal also clarifies that the Registry of Motor Vehicles has authority to impose penalties if drivers attempt to drive after consuming alcohol or tamper with a device.

Further Reading:

Mass.gov: “An Act Relative to Improving Safety on the Roads of the Commonwealth.”

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Car Accident Lawyers
With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in representing individuals injured in car accidents, truck accidents and other catastrophic collisions. If you have been injured, learn your rights at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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Truck on Boston highwayLarge trucks are a stress for many Massachusetts drivers, especially on busy routes like the Mass Pike. The most challenging situations are when a truck comes up behind you or when one tries to pass you.

There were nearly 415,000 truck crashes in the U.S. in 2015, injuring more than 116,000 people and killing more than 4,060, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

As phones, cars, drones and apps all make our world smarter and faster, the trucking industry must get smarter too. Let’s be clear: We are not advocating for self-driving trucks, but tools that increase video monitoring, expand the driver’s visibility and provide error warnings are all going to help improve safety.

A truck and a motorcycle after a fatal accident in West Bridgewater, MassachusettsAttorney Marc Breakstone recently settled a wrongful death case for the family of a motorcyclist for $3.5 million. The case was settled in March 2016.

The motorcyclist was tragically killed by a waste disposal truck in West Bridgewater in 2013. The truck, which was being operated by a subcontractor, pulled out across the road in the path of the motorcyclist. The motorcyclist applied the brakes and laid down his motorcycle, attempting to avoid the collision and struck the defendant’s truck at less than 5 mph.

The motorcyclist continued to roll under the truck. The truck driver did not see him and ran the rear tires over his body, killing him.

sideguards-graphic2.jpgThe Boston City Council has passed the Truck Side Guard Ordinance, the first of its kind in the nation. The ordinance will require side guards, convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors, and blind-spot awareness decals on all city-contracted vehicles over 10,000 pounds (or for tractor-trailer trucks with a combined weight over 26,000 pounds).

This ordinance passed quickly and unanimously last week. Mayor Martin J. Walsh, At-Large Boston City Councilor Ayanna Pressley and the Boston Cyclists Union, a non-profit advocacy group, filed the proposed ordinance on September 9th; it was approved by the council on Oct. 29th. It takes effect 180 days after passage and applies to all future contracts.

Side guards are meant to reduce injuries to drivers, cyclists and pedestrians by closing off the space under a truck. The National Transportation Safety Board recommended a side guard protocol last April, reporting that large truck side impacts comprised of 15 percent of fatal two-vehicle collisions between large trucks and passenger vehicles in 2011. In the United Kingdom, mandated side guards on large trucks reduced cyclist deaths by 61 percent and serious injuries to cyclists by 13 percent, according to a Transport for London study.

Boston’s goal is to protect cyclists, pedestrians and other drivers, but cyclists have faced especially hard road conditions in recent years. Since 2010, 11 cyclists have been killed in Boston, seven in bike accidents which involved a truck or bus, according to city figures. Injuries to cyclists from other causes have also increased, even though the city has developed Boston’s cycling infrastructure dramatically in recent years. The City continues to expand bike lanes and to work on cycle track projects which will put a physical barrier between cyclists and traffic.

Others may soon follow Boston in passing a truck side guard ordinance. Lawmakers in New York have proposed legislation that would mandate side under-ride guards on trucks, tractors, tractor trailers and semi-trailers. In Massachusetts, Somerville, Cambridge and Newton are also considering ordinances. Elsewhere, Portland and Washington D.C. also have proposed legislations or restrictions.

A few additional points:

Pilot Program. Boston began looking at truck side guards in 2013, when the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the city’s Public Works Department undertook a municipal pilot study of truck side guards.

Inspection. Vehicles associated with an awarded city contract will be inspected for side guards by the Inspectional Services Department and issued a permit, certifying the vehicle for 2-years.

Enforcement. Businesses will face a fine for vehicles which are not in compliance. The fines start at $100 for the first offense and rise with repeated violations to potential contract termination. The Boston Police Department will assist with enforcement.

Other City Offices. The Boston Transportation Department and Boston Bikes will assist with education, content expertise on best practice and as the point of contact for constituent reporting.

Exemptions. There are some exemptions, such as for trucks which are used exclusively for snow plowing or emergency vehicles.

Read more about Boston’s new truck ordinance.
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100114-bostontrashtruck.jpg

Mayor Marty Walsh is proposing a new safety ordinance for city-contracted trucks in Boston, a measure being widely watched after several cyclists have died in truck crashes. It is believed to be the first such ordinance in the nation.

Walsh, who took office in January, submitted an Ordinance to Protect Vulnerable Road Users to the Boston City Council earlier this week. The City Council was expected to take it up today in session.

If passed, the ordinance will require side guards, convex mirrors, cross-over mirrors, and blind-spot awareness decals on all vehicles over 10,000 pounds which are contracted with the city. The goal is to prevent truck accidents by giving drivers a better view around them. When trucks do not comply, fines start at $100 for the first offense and contracts can ultimately be terminated.

The Boston Cyclists Union called for these measures after a cyclist was killed in a Charlestown truck accident in April. It has released a fact sheet, “Safeguards Saves Lives.” According to the fact sheet, 4 percent of vehicles in the U.S. are trucks though they cause 11 percent of all bicyclist fatalities and 7 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.

Since 2010, 11 cyclists in Boston have died as a result of motor vehicle crashes, according to figures cited by Boston Magazine. Seven cases involved trucks. Here is another concerning figure: From 2009 to 2012, there were 1,700 confirmed cyclist incidents documented by Boston EMS emergency medical technicians and paramedics.

The City of Boston has been working on truck safety. Last year, the city began a pilot program, the largest in the nation. The Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics and the city’s Public Works Department tested three different types of guards on 16 active vehicles driving the streets.

In April, the National Traffic Safety Board made similar recommendations to prevent tractor-trailer accidents.
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dangerousload-200.jpgA Framingham motorist tragically lost her life yesterday when she slowed to avoid an unsecured mattress which flew off a truck on Rte. 128 in Burlington, Mass. Authorities believe the mattress broke free from a dump truck with a white cab occupied by two men. As the car slowed to avoid the mattress on the highway, a second car hit it causing fatal injuries.

The truck operator did not stop at the scene or identify himself afterward. The victim had slowed her car, a Toyota Corolla sedan, and tried to avoid hitting the mattress. She was struck from behind by a Toyota Tundra pick-up truck. The Toyota Tundra pick-up truck driver suffered minor injuries. Police are looking for the driver of the dump truck, which left the scene.

Unfortunately, this was not an isolated case.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there are approximately 25,000 crashes a year in North America related to unsecured loads, resulting in approximately 80-90 deaths. Here in Massachusetts, a 27-year-old Lynn man was killed in a similar accident in September 2011, when a 400-pound tire being hauled by a truck broke loose on Interstate 93 in Somerville.

Drivers have a responsibility to secure loads and operate safely, whether they are commercial or non-commercial drivers. All 50 states and the District of Columbia have statutes pertaining to unsecured loads and fines, which range from $10 to $5,000, according to the Government Accountability Office (GAO). In 15 states, violations carry the possibility of imprisonment. Drivers may also face civil lawsuits to compensate the injured and their family.

This may be the third serious truck-related accident in Massachusetts this week. On Sunday, a pedestrian in Uxbridge was struck and killed by an unknown driver. The driver of a tractor-trailer truck, who is employed by Gorham Transport, later contacted police and said he was in the area. Police are investigating.

On Monday morning, a tractor-trailer carrying 11,000 gallons of gasoline overturned in Fall River, engulfing in fire and requiring some to be evacuated. The driver was treated for non-life threatening injuries and the crash is still being investigated.
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truck-commercial-200A tractor-trailer overturned and caught fire this morning in Fall River, causing major traffic delays on Route 24 as well as evacuations.

The tractor-trailer, which was transporting 11,000 gallons of gasoline, overturned near Exit 5 northbound. Police report the driver was sent to Rhode Island Hospital with non-life threatening injuries. The truck was owned by J.P. Noonan of West Bridgewater. No other vehicles were reportedly involved. At this time, the cause of the truck accident is under investigation.

beverly-200.jpgThe trial lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck have extensive experience representing individuals who have been seriously injured in tractor-trailer accidents. Recently, we have obtained $3 million for a woman who was hit head on by an inattentive operator of an 18 wheeler. Below, an online review from another recent client who was rear-ended by a tractor-trailer and seriously injured: