Articles Tagged with “Boston car accident attorneys”

Teen Driver Safety Week is Oct. 18-24, 2020. Breakstone, White & Gluck is sharing articles to encourage parents and teens to discuss safe driving decisions.

Teen driver wearing a seat beltSeat belts are a simple step for safety. As a parent, you probably remind your child to buckle their seat belt before each ride. But when your teen becomes a licensed driver, you won’t always be there. Still, what you say matters. Teens are twice as likely to wear a seat belt as a driver or passenger when parents set rules and monitor their driving behavior, according to the Teen Driver Source website, which is operated by the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Tell your teen you expect them to wear a seat belt whenever they travel in a motor vehicle. This includes when they drive and when they are traveling as a passenger. As a second step, put this in writing. Find a teen driving safety agreement with your teen and state this is one of your expectations. If you catch your teen driving without their seat belt, you can step back their access to the keys until you have a discussion.

Seat belts are required by law. Wearing a seat belt is required by law in Massachusetts. Drivers and their passengers must both wear seat belts.

Seat belts protect against deadly force. The goal isn’t to scare your teen. But the reality is cars, trucks and other vehicles are heavy and powerful machinery. We all need to wear seat belts to protect against the potential force of a car crash.

Seat belts reduce the risk of fatal injury to front seat passengers by 45 percent, according to Teen Driver Source. They also reduce the risk of moderate to critical injury by 50 percent.

Seat belts also reduce the risk of ejection from the vehicle. Those who do not wear seat belts are 30 times more likely to be ejected from a vehicle during a traffic crash, according to Teen Driver Source. When a person is ejected from their vehicle, they are more likely to die in a crash. This was the case for 3 out of 4 people.

How seat belts prevent injuries. Seat belts are designed to spread crash forces across the stronger bony parts of the body, including the shoulders, rib cage and pelvis, according to the Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). They are also designed to prevent occupants from being ejected from a vehicle.

Drivers and passengers should all wear seat belts – to protect themselves and each other. If there is an accident and one of the vehicle’s occupants is not wearing one, they could be ejected and increase the risk of injury to others in the vehicle.

In a frontal crash, drivers and front passengers are left at an increased risk for injury if the back-seat passengers are not wearing seat belts. Exposure to unbelted occupants increases the risk of injury or death to other vehicles by 40 percent, according to the IIHS.

More People Are Wearing Seat Belts in Massachusetts

The good news is more people appear to be wearing seat belts in Massachusetts. In 2018, the state conducted a seat belt usage observation study, reporting 81.58 percent of drivers and front outboard passengers were observed to be wearing seat belts. This was 7.9 percentage points over the year before and the highest ever observed rate in Massachusetts.

To reach this number, the state observed 28,265 drivers and front outboard passengers in 24,2145 vehicles at 147 observation locations. You can learn more by reading the study.

According to the IIHS and other organizations, states with primary enforcement seat belt laws have higher seat belt use rates. In 2019, the IIHS reported states with primary enforcement laws saw 91 percent seat belt use compared to 86 percent. Massachusetts has a secondary enforcement seat belt law, meaning police can stop drivers for traffic violations, then issue citations for failure to wear seat belts. But police cannot stop drivers just because they are not wearing seat belts.

If you are parent or teen, we hope this is good background information. The point is you should wear your seat belt every time you ride – and encourage others to do the same.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

With more than 100 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck fights for the rights of those injured by the negligence or wrongdoing of others. Our attorneys specialize in the handling of car accidents, truck accidents and bus collisions in the Boston area. If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, call our attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

To learn more about teen driving safety and other topics, please visit our Project KidSafe campaign page.

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Cars and trucks on highways

Recently, there have been several serious multi-vehicle highway accidents in the Boston area.

Many drivers have chosen backroads for the past few months. Now, as more people are driving again, we want to caution you to drive safely on Massachusetts highways. Recently, there have been some serious highway crashes, including multi-vehicle crashes.

Our safety tips for traveling on local highways:

Stay in your lane. Unless you have to move, staying in your lane is easier for you and more predictable to other drivers. You are also less vulnerable if another driver speeds up behind you suddenly.

Follow the speed limit. Always watch for the posted speeds. Expect to travel 65 mph on major highways and 55 mph on others. But remember you have a duty to use reasonable care. Driving safely may mean you have to slow down due to weather or traffic conditions to protect yourself and other drivers. You may also have to slow down if  you approach a crash scene.

Make safe decisions. When you make bad decisions, you increase your chances of causing a car accident. Two very unsafe decisions are drinking and driving and speeding. On a highway, your dangerous decision is likely to cause far more injuries because of the traffic count and high speed. Think about a game of dominoes, without the game part.

Protect yourself near trucks. Try to avoid traveling right near or behind large trucks. If you must, provide them with ample room to avoid a crash.

Be aware that trucks create wind gusts. Keep both hands on the steering wheel and stay focused on the road.

Back off when a truck driver signals a lane change. On highways, the average truck needs an 8-second gap or 700 feet to change lanes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This is the length of 2 ½ football fields.

Give emergency vehicles room to work. In Massachusetts, the Move Over Law establishes that drivers have duty to move out of the way of emergency responders and vehicles with flashing lights. You can be fined $100 if you violate this law. You are also likely to be held financially liable if you cause someone injury or property damage to a motor vehicle or a highway fixture, such as a sign or a guardrail.

Do not use cell phones on highways. Distraction and high speeds are not a safe combination. Avoid cell phone use on highways – or at least go hands-free. Picking up your cell phone to call someone and texting while driving are against the law in Massachusetts.


Recent Highway Accidents in Massachusetts

3-Car Crash Kills Young Girl on Route 6 in Westport. Two drivers collided on Route 6 in Westport on the morning of Sunday, Sept. 13. After assessing the damage, they decided to keep driving and to address the situation after clearing the highway. But as the cars started to move, a Jeep Grand Cherokee slammed into the vehicles, one of which was carrying a 10-year-old girl who was killed and her 9-year-old sister, who suffered serious injuries.

7-Vehicle Crash on I-93 in Dorchester. In late August, news outlets reported a tragic multiple car crash on I-93 in Dorchester, just after 7:30 p.m. According to the Cape Cod Times, a 39-year-old female driver hit a highway barrier and an ambulance, then died from her injuries. She was not the only victim. The crash involved a total of 7 vehicles and several people were transported to receive medical care.

Wrong Way Crash Kills 2 in Brockton. Meanwhile in Brockton, a 30-year-old driver allegedly drove in the wrong direction at 3 a.m. Her Volkswagen Jetta struck a Hyandai Santa Fe, colliding and killing two people inside The Brockton car crash occurred on the Reynolds Memorial Highway and as of August 23, was under investigating by the Plymouth County District Attorney’s office and the Brockton Police. A third driver in a Chevy Tahoe was involved in the crash, but refused medical treatment (Source: NBC Boston).

Littleton Truck Crash on Route 2. In July, there was a very serious crash involving a tractor-trailer and two pick-up trucks on Route 2 in Littleton. Surprisingly, no one was injured in the multi-truck crash. However, emergency crews had to close down the eastbound side of the highway to recover the vehicles.

According to WHDH, emergency responders found the tractor-trailer and one of the pick-up trucks off the road on the guard rail. The other pick-up truck was overturned. Police were investigating the cause of the truck crash, according to WCVB-TV.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyer

If you have been injured by someone’s negligent driving in Massachusetts, contact the lawyers of Breakstone, White & Gluck in Boston to learn your legal rights. If you have been injured in a multi-car highway crash, this is even more important. Highway crashes may involve several drivers and business vehicles or a large truck. The insurance claim process is complex for the individual drivers and passengers involved. As they attempt to find their way, the companies can mobilize quickly to defend their financial interests. It is vital that you act immediately to protect your rights.

Contact our Boston car accident attorneys for a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Massachusetts couple planning a safe summer road trip.

Planning is the key to a safe summer road trip.

By now, many of us are ready for a summer road trip. Maybe you cannot reach your first-choice destination due to COVID-19 travel restrictions. Or maybe you are just taking it slow with a day-trip. Whatever your plan, we hope you can fit in some fun while practicing safety.

First, make sure your vehicle is ready. Check your vehicle’s systems. By taking some time now, you are less likely to breakdown or cause a car accident resulting in injury, motor vehicle damage and stress.

Check for Auto Recalls

Find your Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). Then, check the federal auto recall website, managed by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). You can also sign up for email alerts from this page.

Each year, there are millions of auto recalls. Drivers are not always properly informed by manufacturers. Without any warning, drivers keep operating vehicles, increasing the risk for a malfunction. Be pro-active about checking on auto recalls.  The thorough database contains recalls up to 15 years back. One caveat is the database does not identify vehicles which were recalled but have now been repaired. 

Collect Your Owner’s Manual

Make sure you have your owner’s manual in your glove compartment, along with your motor vehicle registration and auto insurance information. 

Have Your Car Serviced

Before you travel:

  • Check your vehicle maintenance records
  • Schedule a tune-up, oil change or battery check as needed
  • Check when your car last had a tire rotation
  • Make sure your air conditioning system is properly working as well

If you have any questions, schedule an appointment with a mechanic or garage. 

Roadside Assistance

Purchase an auto club membership before you travel. Due to COVID-19, you may not be traveling as far as you wanted this year. You may just be day-tripping to Cape Cod. Still, anytime you travel on the highway, an auto membership is a valuable tool.

Stocking Up

The NHTSA advises drivers to stock up on essential supplies before you travel.

  • Cell phone and charger
  • Nonperishable food, drinking water and medications
  • Paper or printed maps (in case you lose cell phone coverage)
  • First aid kit
  • Flashlights
  • Flares and a white flag
  • Jumper cables
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Jack
  • Work gloves and extra clothing
  • Extra windshield washer fluid

Checking Inside the Car and Mirrors

Remember to check your seatbelts and car seats to make sure they are properly functioning. If you have a young child, they may have outgrown their car seat over the past few months. Replace car seats right away.

Check your mirrors. Your rearview and sideview mirrors should be securely in place to help you view your surroundings. If you have a back-up camera, make sure it works. If you don’t have a back-up camera and you have time, consider purchasing an add-on camera. Consumer Reports offers tips: “How to Add a Back-up Camera to Your Car.”

Travel Planning

Before you travel, check the weather and road conditions along your route. Familiarize yourself with the directions before you go. You may use a global positioning system. But when visiting new places, also consider printing travel maps or writing down notes, such as toll locations and rest stops. Write down key phone numbers, such as for hotels. Gather this in a folder or binder. 

Share your travel route with a loved one or friend. Keep an emergency contact’s information available, such as in your wallet or the password lock screen of your phone.

If you are traveling within Massachusetts, you can check traffic conditions on Mass511.com. Cape Cod travelers can check the Cape Cod Commission’s Real-Time Traffic Updates. This contains information about Cape Cod car accidents, road closures and construction projects.

Hands Free Cell Phone Systems

On April 1, 2020, the Massachusetts hands-free driving law took effect. Now, all six New England states ban texting while driving and handheld cell phone use. 

What you can do: If you want to use your cell phone, purchase Bluetooth and hands-free driving equipment before you travel. If you cannot GPS through Bluetooth or an in-vehicle system, you can purchase a cell phone mount for your dashboard.

Cell phone-related car accidents often ruin vacations while causing serious injuries. Our best advice is to focus on the road and set your cell phone aside. Enjoy the time with your family or friends. Check your messages at the end of the  day.

Children and Heatstroke

Children can suffer heatstroke when left alone in a vehicle. A child’s body temperature rises 3-5 times faster than an adult’s and injuries can happen quickly, according to the NHTSA.

Come up with a family plan for traveling this summer. Never leave your children alone in your car in parking lots, when you visit family and friends or any time you make quick stops. Your car is a powerful piece of machinery. Everyone in and out of the car together. Or if you have two adults, designate one your driver, who stays in your vehicle with your children and the air conditioning. Let the passenger get out and do your errands.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Crash Lawyers

Breakstone, White & Gluck and our Boston car accident attorneys fight for the rights of those injured by negligence and wrongdoing in Massachusetts. Our attorneys represent those injured across Massachusetts, from Boston and Cambridge to the North Shore and Quincy and the South Shore and Cape Cod.

If you have been injured in a motor vehicle accident, learn your legal rights. Consult Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Massachusetts teen driver using cell phone, causing risk for distracted driving crash.

Distracted driving laws are reducing teen driver crashes, study says.

When drivers use cell phones, they introduce grave dangers to the road and are more likely to crash. This is why many states have now passed distracted driving laws. But how effective have these laws been?

Highly effective, suggests new research. Distracted driving laws are saving the lives of both teen drivers and their passengers in car crashes. The greatest impact is seen when states ban all drivers from cell phone use, not just junior operators under age 18.

Researchers at Massachusetts General Hospital published the findings from a 10-year study in Pediatrics journal. Reviewing more than 38,000 motor vehicle crashes reported between 2007 and 2017, researchers found a significant decrease in fatal motor vehicle crashes among drivers age 16-19.

There was actually a 43 percent reduction in deaths among 16-year-old drivers in states which passed hand held cell phone bans for all drivers (not just a ban for junior operators under 18).

Researchers had the challenge of working with evolving cell phone laws. When the study began in 2007, just 15 states had passed one type of distracted driving law, often a texting while driving ban. By the end, researchers were reviewing the impact of multiple bans, including texting while driving bans (both primary and secondary), hand-held bans and bans on all types of cell phone use for drivers under age 18.

Distracted Driving In Massachusetts

Massachusetts distracted driving crashes are a serious concern, having caused the deaths of drivers as well as pedestrians and cyclists. Once drivers pick up a cell phone, it is hard to break their attention away. The younger the driver, the harder it can be and this makes it essential for teens to establish good habits from the start.

In Massachusetts, a high school student was the first to be criminally prosecuted for motor vehicle homicide, texting while driving and negligent operation of a motor vehicle, according to CNN. Police allege the 17-year-old Haverhill man exchanged nearly 200 text messages in the hours leading up to the fatal crash in 2011. The crash killed a 55-year-old New Hampshire driver and seriously injured his girlfriend, who was riding in his passenger seat. As the prosecutor said at sentencing, “there are no winners today.” He went onto say, “…in a split second, many lives are forever changed.”

The state of Massachusetts reported a 170 percent increase in distracted driving crashes between 2014 and 2016. Over the past few years, lawmakers and safety advocates negotiated proposals to pass a hands-free law or a ban on handheld cell phone use. This finally reached resolution in November 2019, taking effect in April.

Under the Massachusetts Hands-Free Law, drivers are no longer allowed to use hand-held cell phones. They must now use voice-activated technology. The goal is to reduce injuries by taking away the act of reaching for a phone and attempting to dial. However drivers must still use voice-activated cell phones cautiously. Drivers can still cause accidents when using voice-activated technology and can still be held liable if they cause someone’s injuries.

Teen drivers – Massachusetts junior operators under age 18 – are still not allowed to use hands-free cell phones under the new law.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Attorneys

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys fight for the rights of those injured by negligent driving in Boston and across Massachusetts. With more than 100 years combined experience, we have a reputation for strong results for victims of car accidents, truck crashes and bus collisions.

If you have been injured, call our attorneys for a free legal consultation: 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

 

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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.

Uber app on a cell phone

New state data confirms Boston is the hub of ridesharing. More than half of all rideshare trips in Massachusetts originated here in 2017.

In August 2016, Gov. Charlie Baker signed legislation regulating rideshare vehicles in Massachusetts, creating important protections for consumers. Among the reforms, drivers now have to carry a minimum level of auto insurance to protect passengers who are injured. They must also pass criminal background checks.

Now the state has released ridership data from 2017, the first full year of the regulations. The data provides a glimpse at rideshare’s mark on Massachusetts and particularly the city of Boston, where Uber and Lyft vehicles seem always in sight and rideshare accidents are rising.

Rideshare Numbers in Massachusetts

Massachusetts residents took approximately 64.8 million rideshare trips in 2017, compared to 408 million rides on public transportation, according to the data. Based on feedback from the transportation network companies, the state estimates one-third of rideshare trips carried multiple passengers.

Boston: Rideshare Hub

The majority of rideshare trips originated in Boston: 34.9 million. About 1.8 million Boston rideshare trips began at Logan International Airport. According to a Boston Globe analysis, there were roughly 96,000 Uber and Lyft vehicles on Boston streets each day of 2017!

More than 6.8 million trips started in Cambridge, the second leading city for rideshare starts. This is a dramatic difference for neighboring Boston and Cambridge. Somerville, Brookline and Newton rounded out the top five communities for rideshare starts.

Rideshare may be more convenient than public transportation. But rides can be slow. The slowest rides began in Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Everett and Brookline, according to the state data. The average rideshare speed was 14 to 16 miles per hour in these communities, compared to 30 mph or above in about half of Massachusetts communities.

Rideshare Across Massachusetts

Per person, Suffolk and Middlesex counties saw 80 percent of all rideshare starts in Massachusetts, followed by Nantucket, off the Cape and Islands. Beyond these counties, a few notable numbers came from Worcester, where 848,000 rideshare trips originated and Lowell, where 490,000 rides began. More than 378,000 trips originated in Springfield.

Here are the 20 communities with the most rideshare starts:

  1. BOSTON
  2. CAMBRIDGE
  3. SOMERVILLE
  4. BROOKLINE
  5. NEWTON
  6. MEDFORD
  7. QUINCY
  8. MALDEN
  9. WORCESTER
  10. EVERETT
  11. REVERE
  12. WALTHAM
  13. CHELSEA
  14. LYNN
  15. LOWELL
  16. WATERTOWN
  17. BROCKTON
  18. SPRINGFIELD
  19. LAWRENCE
  20. FRAMINGHAM

Source: Rideshare Data Report, Mass.gov

Protecting Yourself as a Rideshare Passenger in Massachusetts, When to Seek Medical Attention, Call a Lawyer

When traveling by rideshare, stay alert and watch, even if you have a 5-star rated driver. While many rideshare drivers are well trained and simply want to help you reach your destination, car accidents can happen. Rideshare drivers, and others on the road, can be fatigued or engage in texting while driving. Whenever possible, travel with other passengers you know. If you feel unsafe at anytime, ask the driver to pull over and let you out in a safe area. 

In Massachusetts, Uber and Lyft drivers are required to carry a minimum level of auto insurance. If you have been injured while traveling in a rideshare vehicle, the driver has a responsibility to stop and provide you with his license number, auto insurance carrier, address and contact information. If you have been injured, call for an ambulance or visit a hospital emergency room immediately.

Then call an experienced attorney. Visit our Uber accident web page or our Lyft accident web page for more information.

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston car accident lawyers have over 100 years combined experience representing those injured by negligence and wrongdoing. We are conveniently located at 2 Center Plaza, Suite 530, across the street from Boston City Hall and the Government Center MBTA station. 

If you have been injured, contact our firm and learn your rights for seeking compensation. Call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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Thanksgiving week traffic jam in Boston

Driving to your Thanksgiving destination can be demanding. Read our tips to help you get there safely with a little less stress (if that’s possible).

We all want to know the secret to beating the Thanksgiving week traffic out of Boston. To help, we have put together a few travel tips. Please travel safely, be patient and enjoy this special time of year with your family and friends.

Traffic Apps and Resources. Here are a few websites for travelers: Boston.com/Traffic or Mass511.com. Traffic apps: Google Maps, Waze, AAA or GoTime.

Boston’s Worst Traffic Bottlenecks. AAA is reporting on the Boston region’s 10 top traffic bottlenecks for the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. They include several locations along Interstate 93, Interstate 95 and the MassPike (Interstate 90).  Read the full list now before you drive. Try to avoid them if you can.

Check Your Car. Whether you drive your own car or rent a vehicle, spend a few minutes in the driver’s seat before you leave. Make sure you know how to use key features such as the blinkers, headlights and the heating system. Many new vehicles now have complex infotainment systems. Decide now what features you need to use for this trip – and which are distractions.

Essentials. Make sure your motor vehicle registration is in your glove compartment and that you have your health insurance card (or cards if you are a parent traveling with children).

Choose the Best Travel Times. AAA predicts a 3 percent increase in holiday travel this year, so we know to expect more traffic. Tuesday night and Wednesday afternoon will be the most challenging time, according to Waze. Another busy travel time is Thanksgiving Day between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Plan to Stop. Take a break to fend off fatigue and let kids burn off energy. Stop once every two hours.

Gas Up and Emergency Kit. Always start your trip with a full tank of gas. Then, make sure you have a strong emergency kit, with jumper cables, a quart of motor oil, coolant, a first aid kit and a toolkit. Find your auto club membership, a safety vest, a flashlight with extra batteries and a roadside flare. Finally, pack warm clothes, blankets and your cell phone charger.

Commit to Use Your Cell Phone Safely. Our best tip for you is to turn your phone off. If you are traveling with someone, ask them to hold your cell phone and receive occasional phone calls or traffic alerts for you.

When traffic is heavy, a driver can cause a multi-car pile-up with a single glance at a cell phone – and that’s on any given day. The traffic is much worse during the Thanksgiving Week. That is why texting while driving is banned in Massachusetts and 46 other states, and why many are pushing to see Massachusetts ban all cell phone use by drivers.

No Drinking and Driving Accidents. Drunk driving accidents increase during the holiday season, starting with Thanksgiving week. Always, always travel with a designated driver who agrees not to drink. Or do not consume alcohol. No one ever regrets making this decision the next morning.

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Boston News, Weather, Sports | FOX 25 | MyFoxBoston

As State Police investigate a weekend hit-and-run car crash in Foxborough, attorney Marc L. Breakstone spoke on behalf of his clients who were injured. Breakstone told The Boston Globe there is “overwhelming evidence” that his clients’ vehicle was struck by the Mercedes-Benz Mabach registered to ex-New England Patriots linebacker Brandon Spikes.

Breakstone, a personal injury attorney at Breakstone, White & Gluck in Boston, is representing the Billerica family who was struck in the early Sunday morning crash. The parents and child were taken to the hospital with minor injuries after their Nissan Murano was struck suddenly.

Breakstone said the car that struck his clients was likely traveling at least 80 to 85 miles per hour and that his clients never saw any headlights.

“It is an extraordinary act of negligence for one vehicle to strike another vehicle that’s traveling 60 miles an hour on the highway,” Breakstone told the Globe. “I suspect that whatever that driver was under the influence of is the reason that the driver left the scene.”

Around the same time, State Police were notified the 2011 Mercedes-Benz Maybach registered to Spikes had been abandoned nearby in the median strip of Interstate 495 in Foxborough. A Mercedes roadside assistance service operator contacted State Police, telling them the driver of the vehicle reported hitting a deer.

State Police say the investigation is ongoing and they have not established who was driving the Mercedes-Benz Maybach or whether the Maybach hit the other car.

Spikes was released by the Patriots on Monday. He played for the Patriots from 2010 through 2013, then joined the Buffalo Bills for the 2014 season. He had recently returned to the Patriots on a one-year deal which would have been worth up to $2 million.

Breakstone told the Globe his clients are working to move past the hit-and-run accident.

“They want their normal lives back,” he said. “They want their good health and their comfortable state of mind. … They’re alarmed, first, that they could have been killed. They’re alarmed that it may have been an NFL player behind the wheel, and they would just [prefer to] not be in the spotlight and just have a return to normalcy.”

Related Coverage:
Accident Blindsided Family, Lawyer Says, The Boston Herald.

Patriots release Brandon Spikes amid crash investigation, WCVB.

Police probing whether ex-Patriots linebacker Spikes’ car hit Billerica family’s, The Lowell Sun.

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car-snow-200.jpgWinter is almost here! We have already seen the first snow flurries in Massachusetts, and it is time for drivers to get prepared for winter driving.

Each year, over 1,300 people are killed and more than 116,800 people are injured in car crashes on snowy, slushy or icy pavement, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. During snowfall, nearly 900 people are killed in accidents and 76,000 are injured.

Stay safe on the roads this winter. Our Boston car accident lawyers share these tips:

Slow Down! Reduce your speed. When it snows, if you are traveling the speed limit, you are probably traveling too fast for road conditions and are at risk for causing a car accident.

Leave Extra Distance. It takes longer to stop on snowy and icy roads. Increase your following speed to 10 seconds.

Clear Snow and Ice. Make sure your car and windows, including your headlights and turn signals, are free from all snow and ice when you drive.

Gas. Keep your gas tank at least half-full throughout the winter.You will be prepared in case of a serious storm, and you can make sure your gas lines do not freeze up.

Check Your Tires. Inspect your tire tread to make sure your tires are ready for winter. Also, check your tire pressure once a month in the winter.

Exhaust. Keep your exhaust pipe clear of snow.

Practice After the First Snow Storm. On the first icy, snowy day, find a big parking lot that is empty and practicing your skills for handling skids.Teach the new drivers in your home to control a skid the first chance you get.

Highways. If the roads are still being cleared, travel in the lane which has most recently been plowed and avoid changing lanes.

No Cruise Control. Do not use cruise control on slippery roads.

Pedestrians. Remember you may not be able to see pedestrians around snow banks. Reduce your speed and take an extra minute to check for them at intersections.

Check Your Auto Insurance. Check your auto insurance policy. Many people do not have enough insurance to pay their medical bills if they were injured on the road. A few important coverage types to ask your agent about: Underinsured, Uninsured and Medical Payments coverages. Read our attorneys’ article.
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driving.jpgTalking, e-mailing and texting in the car are not any safer with voice recognition software, a new study finds.

Infotainment systems – those digital screens in a vehicle’s dashboard – are becoming more standard in cars. They have voice recognition software which allows drivers to talk on the phone hands-free or send e-mails and text messages by voice. You can ask your GPS for directions, go online and even log into social media sites, such as Facebook and Twitter, all while driving, though these practices are unsafe.

While the federal government seeks industry support to limit use of these features while cars are in operation, the speech-to-text technology is legal in all 50 states. It provides an alternative in the 11 states and District of Columbia which ban cell phone use for all drivers. Massachusetts is one of the 41 states and District of Columbia which ban texting while driving for all operators, though drivers over 18 can talk on cell phones.

Distracted Driving Study
The new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety shows that putting the phone down and talking is still a risk. The study reported that speech-to-text technology causes a higher level of cognitive distraction than other activities behind the wheel, such as listening to a book on tape, the radio or talking on a hand-held phone or hands-free phone. Researchers compared drivers undertaking the different activities with eye-scanning technology that measured where driver attention was focused and electrical activity in the brain.

The study was led by David Strayer, a neuroscientist at the University of Utah who researches driving behavior and car accidents. He was the same researcher who led the 2006 University of Utah study.

Distracted Driving Concerns
In 2013, 9 million systems will be shipped in cars worldwide, according to ABI Research, an industry research firm. The number is expected to rise as automakers push the technology.

This technology meets heavy government concern about distracted driving. In 2010, 3,092 people were killed in car crashes related to distracted driving, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

Recently, National Transportation Safety Board Chairman Deborah Hersman called for a ban on all phone conversations behind the wheel, even with hands-free devices. Last December, the federal government released voluntary guidelines for the auto industry, recommending that many infotainment system features be disabled while cars are in use. The recommendations seek to prevent drivers from manually enter messages, read messages, browse the Internet and make video conference calls while driving.
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