Posts Tagged ‘“drunk driving accidents”’
New Cars May Get Technology to Help Detect and Reduce Drunk Driving
The $1 trillion infrastructure bill is being called the most important legislation in more than 40 years in the work to stop drunk driving accidents, injuries and deaths.
After a long pandemic, the infrastructure bills calls for expansive funding across all areas of transportation, including airports, public transit, roads, bridges, bike lanes and pedestrian improvements.
The infrastructure bill also includes new safety mandates for automakers, including that new cars be built with technology to detect and reduce drunk driving and for rear-seat reminders to alert parents that a child has been left behind.
The U.S. House of Representatives passed the federal Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act on Friday, sending the legislation to President Joe Biden’s desk. The U.S. Senate had already approved the bill in August.
“Single Most Important” Legislation to Stop Drunk Driving Accidents
Mothers Against Drunk Drivers called the infrastructure bill the “single most important legislation” in its 41-year history of working to stop drunk driving tragedies.
Drunk driving kills about 10,000 people each year on U.S. roads, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration. This accounts for roughly 30 percent of all traffic fatalities.
The infrastructure bill calls for all new cars to comply with an advanced drunk and impaired driving prevention technology standard. The legislation does not specify what the technology will be.
If the president signs the bill, the NHTSA will be charged with finalizing rules for implementing a technology within three years. Automakers will have an additional two years to incorporate the changes into the production.
Mothers Against Drunk Driving has long advocated that states make breathalyzers mandatory sentencing for those who have been convicted of drunk driving.
The Washington Post interviewed a few experts who said to expect more passive technologies than a breathalyzer.
Potential technologies could work around breath or blood sensors, or cameras.
The NHTSA has worked with the Automotive Coalition for Traffic Safety (ACTS) for more than 10 years to develop technologies that discretely detect alcohol on drivers’ breath.
Drunk Driving Accidents and Injuries in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, drivers who operated under the influence of alcohol killed 120 people in 2018 (Source: MADD). As with the federal numbers, this represents about a third of all traffic fatalities across the state that year.
Drunk driving accidents are preventable if drivers remember their responsibilities. Massachusetts drivers have a responsibility to use reasonable care on the roads. Operating under the influence is both against the law and negligent if you cause a crash resulting in injury.
Drivers also have a responsibility not to operate while impaired by drugs, including marijuana, which was legalized in Massachusetts in 2016.
Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers
Founded in 1992, Breakstone, White & Gluck is a top-rated Boston law firm that specializes in representing clients in personal injury and car accident cases. We have expertise in representing victims and families of drunk driving accidents in claims against drivers and in Massachusetts liquor liability claims involving third parties.
Our firm stands out for our experience. Each of our partners offers more than 30 years of experience representing clients in Boston and across Massachusetts.
For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Attorney David W. White Discusses Massachusetts Social Host Liability Law in Boston 25 News Interview
Attorney 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/
About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers
Breakstone, White & Gluck is one of the most respected personal injury law firms in Boston. Learn more about our attorneys and our results for clients. If you have been injured, contact us for a free legal consultation at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.
Drive Safely: Holiday Dash in Boston Starts Mid-Week
However you celebrate, we hope you enjoy a festive holiday season, filled with friends, family, holiday events or volunteering.
But most of all, here at Breakstone, White & Gluck, our attorneys hope you commit to travel safely during the holidays. While it’s the season for giving, Thanksgiving to New Year’s brings some of the most dangerous days on the roads.
AAA is forecasting a record-breaking 112.5 million holiday travelers – or 1 in 3 Americans. This represents a 4.4 percent increase over last year. More than 102 million will travel by car, the highest number in 17 years. The forecast holds bad news for Boston though. On Wednesday afternoon, we could end up with one of the longest commutes in the nation.
Tips for driving safely for the holiday season:
Plan for Boston holiday travelers. AAA and INRIX forecast this Thursday, Dec. 20th, will be the most congested day nationwide. Boston is on a list of 10 holiday hot spots, with the worst travel expected on Wednesday, Dec. 19th. The absolute worst time to drive is 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. that day and you can expect the commute to take 3.5 times as long. It’s hard to believe the forecast is so terrible. It’s based on historical data and recent travel trends.
Unfortunately, this heavy traffic won’t just impact those starting their holiday commute; it will also challenge workers, school buses, delivery services and just about all of us.
Make a plan. Take public transportation if you can. Adjust your work hours if your employer allows it. Services like Waze and Mass511 can help you navigate and take away some of the stress.
Buckle up. Wear your seat belt at all times. When driving others, ask if they are buckled up before you start moving. People really need the reminder. Even after years of safety campaigns, nearly 10 percent of Americans are still not wearing seat belts, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). In 2016, seat belts could have saved more than 2,400 people killed in car accidents (Source: NHTSA).
The day before you travel, also take time to check your children’s car seats, so they are properly secured.
Plan enough space for holiday gifts. When traveling with gifts or food, make sure you leave enough space so you can see through your windows.
Watch your speed, especially near pedestrians. Speeding is involved in one-third of all traffic fatalities, according to the NHTSA. It is also a leading cause in car accidents which injure pedestrians. Commit to traveling the speed limit or slower if you need to adjust for weather conditions, dark roads or unfamiliar areas. Have patience in parking lots and remember, during the holiday season, pedestrians may be out later at night.
Drive sober. If you celebrate outside your home, our suggestion is to skip the alcohol and focus instead on all you are grateful for this year. If you plan to drink, choose a designated driver whom you trust not to drink. As a backup, install the Uber and Lyft apps on your phone.
Drunk drivers killed 10,874 people in motor vehicle crashes in 2017, representing 29 percent of all traffic fatalities in the U.S., according to the NHTSA. Here in Massachusetts, drunk drivers caused 34 percent of all traffic deaths.
As personal injury attorneys who represent those injured by drunk drivers, we know firsthand that when someone is killed by a drunk driver, nothing is ever the same for the family. Drunk driving accidents are senseless, entirely preventable had the driver just made a better decision.
As for drunk drivers, they can be criminally charged and expect to face a civil lawsuit, as can others in certain cases, including bars and restaurants in liquor liability cases.
Marijuana will be in greater supply this year, after retail stores have opened for recreational marijuana sales in Massachusetts. Use good judgment. Do not consume marijuana when you are driving. Users are about 25 percent more likely to crash than other drivers, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
No distracted driving. We cannot say it enough: it’s critical to put your cell phone away when you are driving, especially in heavy traffic. Tell your loved ones your phone is off the hook until you stop driving and turn your engine off. Stay committed to that. Don’t engage in texting while driving, reading e-mail or checking Facebook when driving.
Have your directions ready in advance. If you are driving long distance with children, make sure you have snacks, books, coloring sets or games prepared. If possible, drive with another adult so they can respond to your children and make an emergency call if necessary.
Finally, plan ahead and decide where you want to take rest breaks.
Emergency supplies. Do everything you can to ensure you reach your destination safely. Carry cash, a credit card and an emergency kit containing: a mobile phone charger, a first-aid kit, water and snacks, a flashlight and extra batteries, warning flares, jumper cables and a basic tool kit. And don’t forget ice scrapers, shovels and blankets.
AAA’s Holiday Travel Forecast for 2018
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
2017 Data: Alcohol-Impaired Driving, NHTSA
About Breakstone, White & Gluck
Free Legal Consultation: 800-379-1244
For more than 25 years, Breakstone, White & Gluck has represented those injured by car accidents in Massachusetts. Our Boston car accident lawyers are known for our top results for clients and their families. We have consistently been recognized for our results, including by Massachusetts Super Lawyers, Top 100 New England Super Lawyers and Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers.
If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676. You can also use our contact form.
Massachusetts Bars Must Now Carry Liquor Liability Insurance
It’s always a tragedy when someone leaves a bar after a night of drinking, steps in his or her car, and causes a motor vehicle accident resulting in personal injury.
For years, that tragedy was compounded by Massachusetts law, which let bars and restaurants operate without liquor liability insurance. Like other businesses, Massachusetts restaurants and bars have traditionally carried general commercial liability insurance covering on-site problems, including slip and falls and other injuries. But this insurance offers no assistance to drunk driving accident victims.
In late May, Massachusetts lawmakers corrected this and passed a law requiring restaurant and bar owners to carry liquor liability insurance. Establishments must carry a minimum of $250,000 per person/$500,000 per accident coverage. In other words, policies must provide a minimum $250,000 for bodily injury or death of one person and a total of $500,000 per incident involving bodily injury or death.
Innocent victims of drunk driving accidents still face the traditional hurdles in proving their cases against bars. One hurdle is strong juror bias. Juries do not hesitate to hold the drunk driver responsible. But juries are often reluctant to blame a drinking establishment for over-serving a patron, even though the law is perfectly clear that a bar has a legal duty to not serve someone who is intoxicated.
Restaurants and bars seek to avoid liability for over-serving patrons, and they typically claim they did not recognize that the patron was intoxicated. The recent Massachusetts Appeals Court case of Rivera v. Club Caravan, Inc., 77 Mass. App. Ct. 17 (2010), reviewed the legal standards for “dram shop cases.” Generally the plaintiff must prove the patron showed outward signs of intoxication by the time he or she was served her last drink. However, circumstantial proof can also be sufficient. If the patron had consumed excessive quantities of alcohol, a jury can draw an inference that he would have been visibly intoxicated. So, where a patron is served fourteen drinks in two hours, as in the Rivera case, or was served six or more white Russians, as in another Massachusetts case, the circustantial evidence is strong enough.
Personal injury attorney Ronald Gluck called the new law “a step forward” for the safety of Massachusetts residents. “Restaurants and bars will want to have strong policies in place–and to follow them–not just to avoid liability but also to avoid large increases in their insurance premiums. The new liquor insurance law should help reduce drunk driving accidents in Massachusetts.”
Click here for the full text of the law.