Articles Tagged with “Massachusetts car accident lawyers”

beerkeys.jpgDangers increase for drivers in the period between Christmas Eve and New Year’s Day. There is more traffic on the road, drivers are often growing accustomed again to operating in the snow and many people are drinking and driving. These factors often lead to an increase in motor vehicle accidents.

The Boston motor vehicle accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck, urge you to drive safely and offer these tips:

For Drivers and Passengers

  • The driver and all passengers should wear seat belts.
  • Have a Designated Driver.
  • Carry the phone number for a cab company. Call them beforehand to ask any questions so you are not reluctant to call them later.
  • Consider taking public transportation, such as a bus or subway if available.
  • Stop drinking a few hours before you plan to leave.
  • Stay where you are until you are sober enough to drive.
  • Travel slow. More drivers and pedestrians may be on the roads for the holidays.
  • If possible, familiarize yourself with your driving route during daylight hours and before the holiday.
  • Parents should limit the driving of teenagers on the holidays to avoid car accidents.

For Party Hosts

  • Offer both alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages.
  • Have a cab company’s phone number ready.
  • Stop serving alcohol early.
  • In Massachusetts, you have a legal responsibility to make sure your guests do not leave your home under the influence. If you are hosting a party and serving alcohol, learn about the Massachusetts social host liability law.

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constructionsign_web.jpgMassachusetts police officers assigned to protect public safety at roadside construction details are increasingly becoming the victims of car accidents themselves.

On Dec. 5, a Peabody police officer was struck by a 1991 Chevrolet pick-up truck while working on a Rte. 1 construction detail. He was thrown over the truck’s hood and transported to Massachusetts General Hospital with serious personal injuries. An initial police investigation found the driver was speeding, but it remains ongoing.

In recent years, negligent drivers have struck police officers on several construction details in Massachusetts and caused life-threatening personal injuries. In June 2010, state police Sgt. Douglas Weddleton was killed while working on a construction detail on Interstate 95 in Mansfield. The driver was charged with operating under the influence as well as other driving infractions.

Police officers are not the only ones vulnerable in construction site accidents. Construction workers as well as pedestrians, homeowners and others nearby are also at risk for injury, especially during night construction.

Drivers have a responsibility to operate with care in construction areas. Here are a few ways to make your travel safer:

Avoid Construction Zones If Possible. When you find a construction project on your daily commute, see if you can find an alternate route until work is complete. For projects in your local community, pay attention to your town’s government website and contact the police department’s business line if you have questions.

Identify Who Is In Charge of Traffic. Detail police officers typically direct traffic on many sites, but other work sites utilize civilian flaggers. The civilian flaggers should be dressed in fluorescent clothing and carrying traffic direction signs.

Give Other Drivers Space. Do not travel too closely behind other vehicles. It can be difficult to anticipate when another vehicle may stop short.

Slow Down. We all want to reach our destinations on time, but once you are stuck in construction traffic, it is best to take a deep breath and be as patient as possible to avoid a car accident.

Keep Your Eye on the Traffic. When there is a lot of activity going on at a construction site, there is a natural tendency to look at the crew and different machinery. But it is important to keep your eyes on the road.

Do Not Stop to Talk to the Detail Officer. Even if traffic volume is low, do not stop and ask the detail officer for help or directions. You are putting the officer at risk and confusing other drivers.

Avoid Construction Work Zones At Night. A large number of car accidents occur during night construction work because drivers are speeding, fatigued, operating under the influence or poor lighting.

Pedestrians and Cyclists. Like cars, it is also important for pedestrians and cyclists to follow the detail officer’s instructions for when to pass.
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steeringwheel_web.jpgAttention is on seat belts and occupant protection as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) observes National Teen Driver Safety Week from October 16 through October 22.

Each year, the NHTSA hosts this week to educate the public on protecting teens behind the wheel.

The NHTSA reports teenage drivers and passengers are the least likely to wear seat belts. But seat belts are one of the most effective ways to travel safe. Most people who die in motor vehicle accidents are vehicle occupants, many of whom were not wearing seat belts. Less than 25 percent of traffic accident fatalities are pedestrians, bicyclists and motorcyclists, according to the NHTSA.

By contrast, in 2006 seat belts saved over 1,5000 lives nationwide among passengers over 4 years old, according to the NHTSA.

The NHTSA urges parents and teens to practice safety through seat belt use, by following graduated licensing laws, developing parent-teen contracts and avoiding alcohol consumption.

Massachusetts Junior Operator Law. Many states have implemented graduated licensing laws to place restrictions on teen driving. Under the Massachusetts Junior Operator Law, in the first six months of holding a license, operators under 18 cannot drive with another passenger under 18 years old. The lone exception is they can drive with a sibling as passenger. Teen drivers are also not allowed to drive between 12:30 a.m. and 5 a.m.

Parent-teen contracts. There is strength in a parent-teen contract when it comes to setting expectations. Contract forms are available from many insurance companies, auto clubs, state offices or you can develop your own. Click here for a parent-teen contract produced by the state of Massachusetts.

Address all areas of concern, including seat belt use, how many passengers are allowed in the car and how late teens can drive. This is important even if the state’s junior operator law covers all of your concerns. The contract is between you and your teenager to create an extra level of accountability.

Alcohol. While teens are below the minimum drinking age, they carry the greatest risk for death in an alcohol-related crash. In 2006, 31 percent 15- to 20-year-old drivers involved in fatal crashes had been drinking. This increases the importance of no-tolerance and accountability among parents, teachers, sports coaches and other respected adults.
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dogincar.jpgYou are probably familiar with the list of distractions usually responsible for car accidents: texting while driving, talking on your cell phone, eating, the GPS and your children fooling around in the car.

Well here’s another one to consider: if you are taking your family dog with you, there are additional things you should think about to avoid motor vehicle accidents.

Many people think about their dogs as affectionate friends, not as distractions on the road. But a new survey finds many drivers allow their dogs to ride with them in the car without restraints, increasing the risk for car accidents and serious injury to themselves and others, including the dogs.

The online survey by AAA and Kurgo, a manufacturer of pet travel products, polled 1,000 dog owners who had driven with their pets in the past year. More than half (56 percent) of the respondents reported driving with their dog at least once in the past month and 19 percent had taken their hands off the steering wheel to prevent their dog from jumping into the front seat.

Some 17 percent of the dog owners admitted to letting their dog sit on their laps as they drove and 13 percent said they fed their dog treats. Most alarming, 3 percent reported they had taken pictures of their dog while driving.

Only 16 percent reported putting their dog in a restraint while driving. Nearly 40 percent said they never considered buying a restraint and 42 percent said they believe their dogs are calm enough to ride without restraint.

While many of us have smiled at the sight of a dog hanging his head out of a car window, the survey highlights the fact that our dogs are becoming an increasing distraction on the roads. It is in everybody’s best interest to restrain animals in the car to avoid accidents.

The bottom line: Be your dog’s best friend. Get a proper restraint and avoid letting your dog be a dangerous distraction, even when just traveling around town on errands.
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The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the American Academy of Pediatrics have issued new safety recommendations to protect young children from motor vehicle accidents. They are advising parents to keep children in rear-facing seats until age two, or until they reach the maximum height and weight requirements for the seat.
carseat

The previous recommendation from 2002 was also for children to ride in rear-facing car seats until they reached the maximum height and weight requirements – or until the child had reached a minimum of age one and 20 pounds. Using this standard, many parents turned the car seats around when their child reached age one.

The NHTSA and the American Academy of Pediatrics issued the recommendation citing a 2007 study in the journal Injury Prevention, which showed that children under age two traveling in rear-facing seats are 75 percent less likely to die or suffer severe injuries in car accidents.

The two groups made additional recommendations for booster seats, saying children should ride in them until they have reached four feet nine inches tall and are between eight and 12 years old.

The groups also recommend children ride in the backseat until they are 13.

The new recommendations come as motor vehicle accident deaths among children under age 16 have decreased significantly in recent years – 45 percent between 1997 and 2009, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics.

But motor vehicle accidents remain the leading cause of death for children ages four and older. More than 5,000 children, teens and young adults up to age 21 die in motor vehicle accidents each year. For every fatality, 18 children are hospitalized and more than 400 require medical care.

Massachusetts law requires child safety seats to protect children from car accidents. Children must be secured in child safety seats until they turn 7 years old.

Click here for more details about Massachusetts’ Child Passenger Safety Law.
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October is a month to enjoy the fall foliage and help young children choose their Halloween costumes. But it is also a good time to prepare your car for the harsh winter driving that lies ahead.

The nation’s largest auto club AAA observes October as Car Care Month, giving all drivers reason to check their automobiles for safety. If you are a AAA club member, this means you are eligible for a $1 visual inspection at a local AAA location. On Saturday, Oct. 16, members can visit the Franklin, Rockland or Newton AAA offices for an inspection. On Saturday, Oct. 23, visual inspections will be offered in Saugus. Click here for a $1 coupon.

AAA club members can also prepare for winter with a free car battery test. Click here for those locations.

If you do not belong to an auto club, winter is the time to consider joining one. Another sound practice is to carry a cell phone with you while driving in case you breakdown or have a car accident and have to call the police, an auto club or family member for help.

In a year of car recalls, you may also want to check whether your car has been involved in a safety recall. The manufacturer should have notified you of any recalls. But if you are concerned about a smaller recall that may have slipped your attention, contact your local car dealer or visit www.recalls.gov/.

Our last suggestion is to put together a car safety kit should you ever get stuck on the roadway or in a car accident. Here are some things to include:

  • First aid kit
  • 12-foot jumper cables
  • Four 15-minute roadside flares
  • Colored safety vest to wear in case of breakdown
  • Extra fuses
  • Flashlight and extra batteries
  • Tool kit with screwdrivers, pliers and adjustable wrench
  • Tire inflator (such as a Fix-A-Flat)
  • Tire pressure gauge
  • Rags
  • Roll of paper towels and duct tape
  • Pocketknife
  • Ice scraper
  • Pen and paper
  • Help sign

If you have an accident, remember to record all relevant information, including the name, address, license number of the other driver, the model and registration of any vehicles; and the names, addresses and phone numbers of any witnesses.
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