Articles Posted in Car Accidents

A recent study indicates that there might be some accuracy issues when it comes to data regarding drunk driving fatalities.

Having accurate data regarding drunk driving deaths is very important, as drunk driving fatality data impacts what our view is of the true human cost of drinking and driving and is used by researchers when trying to look at how different things impact the occurrence rate of drunk driving deaths.

The study, which was recently published in the “Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs,” indicates that alcohol often isn’t listed as a contributing factor on the death certificate of individuals who were killed in auto crashes in which they were drunk. The study’s researchers believe that this may be resulting in alcohol-related traffic fatalities being significantly underreported in data based on death certificates.

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If someone were to survey readers about who they think are the worst drivers, one of the typical responses may be the elderly. Our older generations are sometimes seen as slow to react when it comes to driving, but a recent study shows these ideas may not hold much water.

The study shows that drivers that are 70 and over are actually less likely to be seriously injured or killed in an accident and less likely to be involved in a crash than previous generations. That is especially true for those aged 80 and over.

Researchers say this may be because our older generations are getting healthier and our vehicles are getting safer.

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An undergraduate student who attended Harvard University reported died in a car accident on the New Jersey Turnpike early Monday morning. That accident occurred when a minivan veered into the oncoming lane, hit a guardrail and then went back into the center lane where it was struck by a big rig. The impact reportedly ejected the driver from the minivan, which resulted in his death.

In addition to the driver’s death, three passengers in the minivan were injured, one seriously so. All of those in the minivan were reportedly students at Harvard. 

At some point in the process, another big rig was involved in the crash. The accident is still under investigation, so it wouldn’t be right to make any conclusions. News sources seem to suggest that the minivan initiated the crash, but we’ll have to wait for any definitive determinations.

Accidents involving big rigs are obviously risky because of the sheer size of those vehicles. There are number of circumstances that can lead to truck accidents. One common reason for truck accidents is the truck driver’s failure to abide by hours-of-service rules and subsequently falling into a fatigued state. Driving while fatigued is, of course, quite dangerous and puts other drivers at risk.

When a motorist is harmed by a truck driver’s negligence, he or she has the right to seek appropriate compensation, if necessary through litigation. In doing so, it is important to work with an experienced attorney to ensure the best possible outcome in the case. 

Source: Nj.com, “Harvard student dies in crash involving 2 tractor-trailers on Turnpike in Robbinsville, officials say,” Mike Davis, February 10, 2014. 

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Here in Massachusetts, a blood alcohol content of 0.08 is the legal limit for drivers of regular passenger vehicles who are of legal age to drink. The fact that driving with a BAC under this level is legal may lead some to assume that driving with any BAC below 0.08 is safe. A recent study indicates that such an assumption would be quite wrong.

The study was conducted by researchers from the University of California, San Diego. In the study, the researchers looked at the details of 570,731 fatal auto accidents. The researchers found that driving with any BAC other than zero, even a BAC in the 0.01 to 0.07 range, is associated with increased accident severity and is unsafe. For example, they found that driving with a BAC of 0.01 rather than zero increased a person’s likelihood that they would be found solely to blame in a traffic accident by 46 percent.

The study’s results raise some questions regarding buzzed driving (driving with a BAC above zero but below the legal limit) here in the United States. Is enough being done to inform drivers of the dangers of buzzed driving? What should states be doing to discourage such conduct? Should states lower legal limits?

The head author of the above-mentioned study said that states should consider lowering their legal limits and suggested a BAC of 0.05 as a possible compromise level for legal limits here in the United States.

Do you think that Massachusetts should consider lowering its legal limit to 0.05?

Source: NBC 7 San Diego, “Study: “Minimally Buzzed” Drivers Often Cause Fatal Crashes,” Rory Devine and Monica Garske, Jan. 18, 2014

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An accident recently occurred in Massachusetts that resulted in a bicyclist’s death.

The accident happened on New Year’s Day. Early that morning, a 25-year-old man was riding a bicycle in Springfield. As the man was attempting to cross Boston Road, he was hit by a vehicle. According to authorities, the vehicle in question was a pickup truck. Purportedly, the truck kept going after the crash. The 25-year-old man was killed in this hit-and-run accident.

Authorities have accused a 38-year-old man of having been the driver of the pickup truck involved in the accident. Charges of speeding, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license and leaving the scene of an accident resulting in personal injury and death have been brought against the man in relation to the crash. The man has denied the charges.

The investigation into the accident continues. One wonders what additional details about the crash will be uncovered in this investigation.

Losing a loved one in a bicycle accident can change a person’s life forever. The effects of such a loss can cross into several realms, including the financial. Funeral expenses and loss of income are a couple of the financial impacts such a loss can have.

Thus, the time following a fatal bicycle accident can be a time of anxiety and confusion for family members of the victim. A family member may have many questions, such as:

  • What caused the accident?
  • Who was responsible for the accident?
  • What should I do now?

Experienced personal injury attorneys can look into the details of a bicycle accident to try to help answer such questions.

Source: masslive.com, “Springfield resident Adam Thurber, suspect in crash that killed bicyclist Derek Russell, held on $100,000 cash bail,” George Graham, Jan. 7, 2014

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Recently, a head-on collision occurred here in Massachusetts.

The accident happened on Sunday. Early that afternoon, a BMW and a Mitsubishi were traveling in Methuen. The two vehicles then collided head-on on Lowell Street.

The Mitsubishi had four occupants and all of them were injured in the accident. Also hurt in the accident was the driver of the BMW. The five injured individuals were brought to hospitals in the area after the collision.

According to the article on the Lowell Sun’s website which reported this story, police are currently investigating the crash. One wonders what will be found to have been the cause of the accident.

Thus far, authorities have not brought any charges in connection to the collision.

Head-on collisions can have major consequences for the individuals involved. For example, injuries suffered in a head-on accident sometimes cause a person to become temporarily or permanently disabled.

When it comes to head-on accidents, one thing that it can be incredibly important to look into in great detail is the conduct of the drivers involved. Driver negligence is a common cause of head-on collisions. Inattentive driving and improper passing are a couple of examples of negligent conduct by drivers that can lead to head-on crashes occurring. Determining whether or not driver negligence played a role in a head-on accident can help clarify what sort of compensation-seeking options are available for victims of the crash.

Performing a detailed crash investigation is one of the services a personal injury attorney can provide an auto accident victim.

Source: The Lowell Sun, “5 Lowell residents hurt in Route 110 crash in Methuen,” Grant Welker, Dec. 30, 2013

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As Christmas draws ever closer, malls and retailers around Cambridge and the greater Boston area are expected to have marathon hours to serve last minute shoppers. The idea is to relieve the stress and consternation that commonly comes with the final days of the holiday shopping season.

If only there were something to relieve drivers’ stresses at the same time. If there were, it would probably end up reducing the number of accidents before Christmas. According to a number of studies on holiday traffic, the likelihood of crashes increases between the last weekend before Christmas Day and the holiday itself. Researchers believe that the combination of heavier traffic, agitated drivers and the desire to get last minute gifts make for challenging driving conditions.

Despite these challenges, drivers are tasked with the duty to use reasonable care when behind the wheel; meaning that they must take the same precautions that a reasonable person would use while driving. Essentially, it is presumed that a reasonable person would not drive aggressively, send text messages while driving, or drive while under the influence of alcohol.

So if a person does any of these things, it could be considered a breach of the duty to use reasonable care while driving. If an accident occurs as a result, the offending driver could be held liable for the injuries stemming from the crash.

If there is a time where the adages “peace on earth” and “goodwill towards man” should apply, it is in mall parking lots and streets in front of stores in these final days before Christmas.

Source: WashingtonPost.com, “For drivers around Christmastime, it’s not exactly tidings of comfort and joy,” Ashley Halsey III, December 2, 2013

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In July, we discussed a bicycle accident that took place near 24 New Chardon Street when a police cruiser struck a cyclist. About five months have gone by since that crash, and the Boston Police Department has yet to release the identity of the on-duty officer that was driving the cruiser. In fact, the department has shared very little information about the accident.

A bike safety group, the Boston Cyclists Union, has now called for the Boston Police Department to release information. The group claims that the area where the accident occurred is dangerous, and this problem should be brought to light and addressed. Furthermore, the group argues that the police officer and/or the police department needs to take responsibility for their actions.

The accident took place shortly after 8:30 a.m. on July 9 when the bicyclist was in the right-hand lane. The police cruiser was in the left lane.

The 63-year-old victim suffered a fractured leg, a laceration on his face, and abrasions. The police department said that the officer also sought medical treatment after the collision.

Boston Magazine obtained a copy of the police report of the crash, and the magazine claims police redacted the names of more than 40 public officials that were at the scene of the accident. The first page of the police report was not provided, and the magazine was not able to obtain information about whether an accident investigation took place and whether the officer was cited.

When on-duty police officers are involved in crashes, it is very important that thorough investigations take place. Police must follow strict protocols and laws, especially when they engage in pursuits, in order to prevent dangerous accidents. Those who are involved in accidents with police vehicles should seek legal counsel.

Source: Boston Magazine, “Boston Police Won’t Disclose Officer Involved in Summertime Cyclist Crash,” Edward Mason, Dec. 18, 2013

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A couple of weeks ago in this Boston Personal Injury Law Blog, we wrote that more drivers are using cellphones behind the wheel than ever before. Despite the undisputed fact that distracted driving is incredibly dangerous, and laws ban many forms of distracted driving, a great number of motorists insist on focusing on their phones instead of on the roads.

Lawmakers have stumbled in addressing this significant public safety issue. In some states, they have tried to tackle distracted driving by outlawing texting and banning handheld devices, but such restrictions have been notoriously difficult to enforce. Now, one university thinks that educating the populace on the risks of distracted driving may be the best way to get drivers to change their habits.

Of course, motorists are already educated to a certain degree. It is hard to avoid the headlines about fatal car accidents that are caused by cellphone use, or to ignore the statistics that suggest distracted driving is as dangerous or more dangerous than drunk driving.

A state university on the west coast, however, thinks that a well-rounded, structured education on distracted driving might help change our culture’s tendencies toward distractions in vehicles. In January, the university is going to begin offering free one-hour courses on the worksites of various local businesses. During the class, drivers will be provided with a comprehensive overview of distracted driving law, research and car accidents.

The initiative is part of a larger effort between the university and the state patrol called Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety. Part of the goal of that program, and of the distracted driving courses, is to shift the cultural norms of distracted driving.

The approach is an interesting one, and if it is successful, hopefully similar courses will be offered here in Boston. In the meantime, anyone who is injured in an accident with a distracted driver should seek legal counsel.

Source: Utsandiego.com, “Class aims to refocus distracted drivers,” Chris Nicols, Dec. 4, 2013

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In Massachusetts, all drivers are required to have car insurance. Unfortunately, a number of drivers do still go without insurance; and some drivers have insurance, but not enough of it. It is important that drivers are aware that if they are involved in a car accident with an underinsured or uninsured motorist, it is possible to file a claim under your own insurance policy. Of course, insurance companies often lowball these claims, and it can be important for policyholders to seek legal counsel during this process.

The risk of getting into a car accident with an uninsured driver is significant; The Wall Street Journal recently reported that about 14 percent of American drivers are uninsured.

Many states are currently working on keeping uninsured motorists off of the roads.

Three states now allow law enforcement officers to remove license plates from uninsured vehicles. Drivers are able to reclaim their plates only after they obtain car insurance and pay fines.

Other states have implemented laws that limit the rights of uninsured motorists to sue negligent drivers when they are injured in car accidents. Such practices, however, have been questioned as they may violate the rights of drivers. State programs that utilize databases to indentify uninsured drivers have also faced legal challenges.

One less controversial effort that is underway to encourage drivers to buy insurance is a basic liability policy that is offered to those who receive Social Security benefits. The inexpensive policy allows people to purchase car insurance when they otherwise could not afford it.

As it stands, a number of Boston area residents decline to carry sufficient auto insurance policies due to financial and other reasons. Those who are injured in accidents with such drivers may benefit from legal guidance.

Source: The Wall Street Journal, “Uninsured-Driver Dilemma,” Leslie, Scism, Dec. 1, 2013

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