Articles Tagged with “car crashes”

Massachusetts parent teaching a teen driver how to drive safely and defensively to prevent car accidents.We know many Massachusetts parents regularly talk to their teens about safe driving to prevent car accidents. You should be commended for engaging in this often-stressful conversation.

We urge you to continue on this summer. Helping teens understand the difference between appropriate and unsafe choices and build strong driving skills is a life-long investment in their safety and the safety of others.

Nationwide, teen driving crashes killed more than seven people each day of summer from 2008 to 2018, according to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.  AAA recently released the 2020 “100 Deadliest Days” of driving report, once again warning teen drivers and parent to take extra precautions between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Be aware of the unique risks this summer, AAA says. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, many summer jobs and activities have been cancelled. With more free time, teens may be driving more. AAA urges parents to read its 2020 “100 Deadliest Days” report, and its Parent Coaching Guide, and to have teens sign a safe driving agreement. With this approach, parents can set clear expectations for teens and refer them to the agreement should they forget. If teens violate the terms of the agreement, they may lose driving privileges for a period of time.

Research on Teen Driving Crashes

Here are a few figures for parents to consider. AAA’s research found more than 70 percent of teen drivers age 16-18 had engaged in unsafe and illegal driving behaviors.

Seat belt Use
17 percent of teen drivers admitted to not wearing a seat belt.

Speeding
47 percent of teen drivers admitted to driving 10 mph over the speed limit on a residential street.
40 percent of teen drivers admitted to driving 15 mph on a freeway.

Texting and Cell Phone Use
35 percent of teen drivers admitted to texting while driving.

Other Driving Violations
More than 30 percent of teen drivers admitted to running red lights and aggressive driving. Meanwhile, 25 percent of teen drivers admitted to drowsy driving.

Parents can influence teens on some of these behaviors by developing a teen driving agreement (there are several available on the Teen Driver Source website). Your conversations with your teens are also essential.

Help Your Teen Drive Safely
Help your teen drive safely and avoid a car crash.

Many states have graduated licensing laws, including Massachusetts. Encourage your teen to follow the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law at all times. Under this law, teens are not allowed to use cell phones when driving in Massachusetts, not even under the new Massachusetts “hands-free” driving laws.

When they have a question, encourage them to ask, review their driver’s education materials or the Massachusetts Driver’s Manual. When drivers understand the law, they are more confident making decisions on the road.

Another opportunity is to drive together. Take turns in the driver seat. When you drive, take the opportunity to show your teen how you follow the speed limit. On a 30 mph street, this means driving 30 mph or less, not 35 or 40 mph. Tell your teen what you are doing and why.

Speed-related crashes are prevalent among teens. Simply slowing down and following other vehicles at greater distances can make a tremendous impact in reducing car accidents. At slower speeds, your teen has more time to stop and if they have a collision, injuries are likely to be less severe. Accident victims are more likely to survive a teen driving accident.

At the same time, parents should understand that when teens speed, they may be intentionally speeding and risk-taking. This is unacceptable. But often, the reason is driver inexperience. Teens need more practice using the gas and brakes, and you may need to explain that traveling “just” 5 mph or 10 mph over the  speed limit is dangerous. In fact, you may need to do this a few times, also explaining that teens are more likely to cause injury when they speed and receive a speeding ticket which will impact their junior license.

To help your teen, be patient. Your goal is to demonstrate safe driving techniques and give them feedback when they make a good decision or make a mistake. Yet, if you are too critical, you will make your teen nervous and reluctant to drive with you. Tread lightly but firmly. It’s alright to take a break, but don’t stop trying.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our Boston car accident attorneys represent those who have been injured by negligent driving in Massachusetts. Car accidents often result in serious and catastrophic injuries, including head injuries, spinal cord injuries, broken bones, lacerations and death. When victims survive, they may require medical care, have to take time off from work and suffer other financial losses.

Always learn your legal rights after an injury. For a free legal consultation, call our car accident attorneys at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.

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car-night-180.jpgA new study raises the question of whether driving while using a cell phone is the safety risk or a symptom of a larger problem: an aggressive driver with dangerous habits.

Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) found drivers who engaged in frequent cell phone use are higher-risk, even when their phone is out of use. The researchers studied the behavior of 108 Greater Boston drivers. About half admitted to frequent cell phone use while the others said they rarely talked behind the wheel.

The frequent cell phone users tended to drive faster, changed lanes more often and spent more time in the far-left lane. They were also more likely to accelerate rapidly and slam on the breaks.

The data supports the focus on cell phone use: The National Safety Council (NSC) estimates about 1 of 5 car accidents involve drivers who were on the phone.

But researchers say even as the number of cell phones has increased nationwide, the number of car accidents has not, leading to one possible conclusion that drivers who talk behind the wheel are also engaging in other risky behaviors.

Massachusetts is among 39 states which have banned texting while driving. Ten other states ban talking on the phone unless a driver uses a hands-free device. Recently in Massachusetts, lawmakers have considered full cell phone bans to reduce car crashes.

Researchers are investigating whether the answer lies beyond new laws. They are considering retraining programs for drivers which discourage cell phone use and provides warning about other bad habits. Focus is also on auto collision warning systems or sensors which identify when cars cross a lane.

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traffic_web.jpgThanksgiving is a special time of year when family and friends gather for tasty food and warm conversation. But before the turkey can be carved, many people have to travel. The majority of holiday travelers are driving. As they plan their trips, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is urging travelers to buckle up through its campaign, “Buckle Up America. Every Trip. Every Time.” Other government agencies are stressing good planning to help drivers avoid motor vehicle accidents.

Seat Belt Use
During the 2009 Thanksgiving holiday travel weekend, 303 passenger vehicle occupants died in motor vehicle crashes, according to the NHTSA. The majority of these deaths occurred at night, making it important to buckle up at all hours.

Plan Travel Times
The Wednesday before the holiday and Sunday following are the busiest travel days. If possible, plan to travel at other times.

Massachusetts 511 Traffic Updates
Visit the Massachusetts 511 website before you travel. It reports on traffic, car accidents and travel conditions throughout the state. Click here for more information.

Fuel Up
Make sure your gas tank is full before you start traveling.

Slow Down
Expect to have to travel below the speed limit in heavy traffic and make sure not to follow other vehicles too closely.

Stay Calm
Expect to see aggressive drivers on the road. Move away and never engage them.

Drowsy Driving
Drowsy driving causes more than 100,000 car crashes each year, resulting in 40,000 injuries and 1,550 deaths, according to the NHTSA. Rest up before making the drive.
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carcrash.jpgYou may think winter snowfall makes for treacherous driving. But government figures show August is actually the most dangerous month on the roads, making it an important time to take precautions.

Based on records dating back to 1994, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports more Americans die in car crashes in August than at any other time of the year. In August 2009, that number totaled 2,864 deaths.

September had the next highest rate of traffic fatalities, followed by July. Weekends are the deadliest time on the roads throughout the year. Nationwide in 2009, there were an average of 123 deaths each day on Saturdays and 107 deaths on Sunday.

Experts say motor vehicle deaths rise in August because more people are on the road traveling for vacation, taking day trips and attending summer events.

Because of these factors, it is paramount to practice safe driving. Here, our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers offer safety tips to protect you and your family:

  • Do not drink and drive.
  • Travel slowly at night and make sure you are familiar with your route.
  • Reduce distractions by putting away your cell phone and GPS.
  • When traveling with children, explain you must concentrate on the road.
  • On the highway, make sure children have distractions such as books and games.
  • Never leave a child unattended in a vehicle.
  • Wear your seat belt.
  • Do not speed.
  • Talk to teenagers about taking safety precautions such as limiting passengers and avoiding night driving.

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