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November 21, 2014

46.3 Million to Hit Roads Thanksgiving Weekend: Tips You Need to Know to Protect Your Family

With the average gallon of gas costing $2.85—at its lowest cost for the entire year and down 43 cents from this time last year—car group AAA says travelers can expect more traffic on the roads as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches.

AAA projects that nearly 46.3 million people will travel a distance of at least 50 miles from home over the weekend (defined as Wednesday, Nov. 26 through Sunday, Nov. 30), a 4.2% increase from last year—the highest anticipated volume since 2007, before the economic downturn the year after.

"Americans are more optimistic about the future as improvements in several key economic factors, including employment, GDP and disposable income, are boosting consumer confidence and the desire to travel," says AAA president and chief operating officer Marshall Doney, as reported by USA Today.

According to AAA, nearly 90% of holiday travelers, or an estimated 41.3 million, will travel by automobile. Thanksgiving air travel is also expected to be at the highest level since 2007, with 3.55 million people flying to their destinations, AAA says (USA Today).

For those driving to get their turkey fix, INRIX’s Thanksgiving Travel Forecast says it will take at least 25% longer to get there this year.

According to INRIX analyst Jim Bak, the Wednesday pre-Thanksgiving rush hour is expected to begin about two hours earlier than on a typical Wednesday. He recommends drivers avoid traveling between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. to skip the worst delays.

Continue reading "46.3 Million to Hit Roads Thanksgiving Weekend: Tips You Need to Know to Protect Your Family" »

November 19, 2014

NHTSA Wants a Nationwide Recall of Autos With Takata Driver’s Side Frontal Airbags

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it wants a nationwide recall of vehicles outfitted with certain side frontal side air bags manufactured by Takata. The move comes after the regulator decided that the manufacturer is not acting swiftly enough to expand the recall of defective air bags that may rupture when deployed.

Already there have been five deaths, four in the U.S., linked to the faulty auto safety device, which may shoot out shrapnel when rupturing. Today, two U.S. Senators said there might even be a sixth death linked to the deadly air bags. All of the air bag deaths occurred in Honda vehicles.

A national recall would broaden what has to date been regional action involving 4.1 million vehicles in states that are humid and hot, which is where the safety devices are more likely to fail. Automakers involved in that initiative included Mazda, Honda, Ford, BMW, and Chrysler. NHTSA said that unless Takata and the car manufacturers swiftly agree to the wider recall, it will use its authority to make sure that such an initiative happens.

The regulator also wants Takata and the ten automakers that use its air bag inflators—Toyota, BMW, Subaru, Chrysler, Nissan, Ford, Mitsubishi, General Motors, Mazda, and Honda—to provide a detailed report and generate all documents about the testing of the Takata inflators that are behind the existing recall.

According to The New York Times, a low cost air bag propellant made with an ammonium nitrate formula that Takata has been using for inflating its airbags is under scrutiny as a possible cause of the air bag safety issues. The formula is very sensitive to moisture and changes in temperature. It has been known to eventually erode, which is when it can violently combust.

Executives from Takata, Chrysler Group, Honda Motor Co., NHTSA’s deputy chief, and a victim of a 2013 air bag deployment incident are expected to testify in front of a Senate panel tomorrow about the air bag controversy.

Air bags are supposed to protect passengers, not inflict serious injury or death. But when an air bag does not deploy, deploys when it isn’t supposed to, inflates too quickly, or ruptures while inflating, the outcome can be deadly.

Air bags defects and malfunctions can lead to cuts, lacerations, concussions, facial bruises, head injuries, severe injuries, concussions, fractures, and death. They can even lead to traffic collisions that could otherwise have been avoided.

In Massachusetts, our Boston car accident law firm represents clients who were injured or who lost a loved one in traffic crashes involving a defective safety device or another auto defect. Contact Altman & Altman, LLP to speak with an auto products liability lawyer today.

You may have reason for pursuing a claim against an automaker, an air bag manufacturer, the auto dealer, or other negligent parties.

USDOT Calls for National Recall of Defective Takata Driver Side Air Bags, NHTSA, November 18, 2014

Takata’s Switch to Cheaper Airbag Propellant Is at Center of Crisis, The New York Times, Nov 19 2014


More Blog Posts:
Stryker Settles Hip Implant Lawsuits for $1.43 Billion, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, November 7, 2014

GM Crisis: Victim Compensation Numbers Expected To Rise, Boston Injury Lawyers Blog, November 17, 2014

Slip and Fall Accidents Can Cause Injuries on the Job, Lead to Massachusetts Workers’ Compensation Claims, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, November 18, 2014

November 13, 2014

Recent Massachusetts Pedestrian Accidents in Bridgewater, Lowell, Brockton Lead to Fatalities

A 68-year-old woman died earlier this week, in a Bridgewater, MA pedestrian accident. Roberta Harris was struck by a van while crossing the street on Monday morning.

According to police, the Ford van that hit Harris was turning out of a Walgreens parking lot when the incident happened. She was in the road when the van hit her. The incident remains under investigation.

A day after, another pedestrian, this time in Lowell, were also struck in a fatal Massachusetts pedestrian accident. The victims, a 79-year-old resident, was trying to cross Pawtucket Blvd. The driver of the vehicle was another senior, age 69.

Last Friday, in two unrelated Brockton, MA pedestrian accidents, two people were sent to the hospital for treatment of their injuries. Both were struck while crossing a street.

To date, there have been over 75 Brockton pedestrian accidents this year, including seven deaths. A number of the incidents were hit-and-run collisions. At least two of those that died were young children. Brockton City Council President Robert Sullivan has submitted a resolution asking local lawmakers to consider lowering the speed limit on certain streets.

In Massachusetts, please contact our Boston car accident law firm to speak with an experienced pedestrian injury lawyer. Unfortunately, pedestrians are the ones who sustain the brunt of injuries in traffic crashes. With nothing to protect their bodies from impact the injuries can be catastrophic, even deadly.

Sometimes the negligent party is the driver of the vehicle. However, there also can be other parties that should be held liable, such as the manufacturer of a vehicle that malfunctioned or a city, the state, or another entity that should have ensured that streets were designed to maximize safety, traffic signs were in working condition, stop signs and speed bumps were installed where needed, and any debris or other hazards on a road was removed.

Please contact our Boston pedestrian accident attorneys today.

Lowell police investigate fatal pedestrian accident, WHDH, November 11, 2014

2 pedestrian accidents in Brockton within minutes of each other, WCVB, November 8, 2014

Bridgewater Pedestrian Killed In Accident
, Boston CBS, November 10, 2014

Brockton weighs speed limit cuts after two more hit, Boston Herald, November 9, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Man Injured When Cement Beam Falls off Truck, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, October 28, 2014

$1.2 Million Massachusetts Personal Injury Lawsuit Blames Pumpkinfest for Man's Health Issues, November 13, 2014

Stryker Settles Hip Implant Lawsuits for $1.43 Billion, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, November 7, 2014

October 28, 2014

Man Injured When Cement Beam Falls off Truck

The driver of an SUV was taken to the hospital last week after several cement beams fell off of a tractor-trailer truck and onto his car.

Vidon George, the driver of that SUV, said he was approximately 30 feet away from the truck when he noticed the restraint harnesses giving way. The beams landed on the hood of George’s Honda Pilot, crushing its front end.

"I just tried to brake and I could see this is going to come and hit my car for sure and bam, in a few seconds everything was done," George, 40, said in a statement to WCVB. "It happened so fast. My hands were on the steering wheel and the airbag exploded or deployed. My body aches because of that huge impact," he said.

George, a married father of three was en route to work. He was luckily able to open the car door and walk away not seriously injured, however he is being treated for bruises. Investigators are currently looking into how the accident happened.

Continue reading "Man Injured When Cement Beam Falls off Truck" »

October 21, 2014

Massachusetts Teen Drivers Still At Greatest Risk of Involvement in Traffic Crashes

According to statistics, teen motorists are more likely to be in a car crash than motorists who belong to an older age group. In 2012 alone, 39 people ages 16 to 20 died in Massachusetts car crashes—that’s over 11% of all traffic deaths in the state that year. This figure is higher than the national average of 9.6% .

Driver inexperience is the most common cause of young driver traffic accident. Other common causes include speeding, poor seatbelt use, alcohol, and distracted driving.

Just this month an Attleboro teen died in a single auto collision. Christopher Hutcheon 18, was accompanied by other teens in a 2000 Toyota Camry when the vehicle struck a tree in Mansfield. The car, which another teen was driving, split in two. Hutcheon suffered a collapsed long and ruptured spleen. He was placed in a medically induced coma before later passing away.

Last month, another teen driver died when his vehicle went off the road in a Winchester traffic accident. Patrick Gill was pronounced dead at a Burlington hospital.

Also last month, a Lynn, MA teen driver was charged with Operating Under the Influence in a hit-and-run case that left four people injured. Nery Martin-Lopez, 19, reportedly struck three other cars while drunk. He pleaded not guilty to criminal charges.

Teen Drivers
Like any new driver, young drivers become better motorists with time. However, their youth and experience does make them higher risk driver than older, more experience motorists for a number of reasons, including:

• A propensity to underestimate dangerous situations, take unnecessary risks, or speed
• The lowest rate of seat belt use compared to drivers in other age groups.
• Inexperience with dealing with emergency situations on the road
• Distracted driving, whether from driving with other teens in the car or using cell phones to call people and send text messages
• Driving under the influence
• Reckless driving

This week is National Teen Driver Safety Week. Among the initiatives to mark the occasion is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention “Parents are Key” campaign. There also is the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 to Drive” campaign, which was introduced by the government agency last year. Both programs encourage guardians and parents to get involved.

NHTSA is also recommending that teen drivers refrain from cell phone use for texting or talking while driving, drive under the speed limit, refrain from carrying extra passengers, wear a seatbelt, and drive sober. In a statement to Reuters, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Fox noted that even though the number of young driver deaths and related crashes have gone down, the amount of teenagers injured in traffic accidents is still significant. Motor vehicle crashes continue to be one of the major causes of teen deaths.

In Massachusetts, the state has a graduated driver licensing program, called the Junior Operator’s License (JOL) program, which takes place in stages over a couple of years for young motorists. The program is an effort to minimize the risks for teen drivers by gradually preparing them for the challenges of operating a motor vehicle.

At Altman & Altman our Boston car accident lawyers represent teenagers (and their families) who were injured in a traffic accident that was caused by another driver’s negligence.

Parents are Key to Safe Teen Drivers, CDC

NHTSA Unveils '5 to Drive' Teen Safety Campaign To Reduce High Death Rate of Teens, NHTSA, October 22, 2013

Teen drivers at greatest risk, Wicked Local, October 16, 2014


More Blog Posts:
US DOT Aims New 'Don't Text and Drive' Commercial at Distracted Drivers, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, April 7, 2014

Massachusetts Suspends ET-Plus Guardrail Use Because of Traffic Injury Risks, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 21, 2014

Paxil Birth Defect Lawsuit Is Sent Back to State Court, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, October 13, 2014

October 3, 2014

Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law

Bicycle safety continues to draw the attention of city officials as the number of cyclists grows across the city. With increasing attention to the environmental and health advantages of opting for bicycles instead of motor vehicles and public transportation, and the advent of bike share programs like Hubway, the volume of bicyclists has increased dramatically. With this movement towards cycling, bicycle laws may need to be reconsidered to ensure that cycling remains an attractive option for Bostonians, while ensuring the safety of cyclists, pedestrians, and motor vehicle drivers.

Boston.com reported that on September 17th, the Brookline Police Department solicited comments via Twitter regarding the adoption of a new bicycle law commonly known as the Idaho Stop. The law would allow cyclists to treat red lights as stop signs, and treat stop signs as yield signs, thereby letting cyclists move more quickly and have more freedom on roadways. In Idaho, bicycle injuries declined by 14.5% in the year following the implementation of the law.

Existing bike laws in Brookline follow a “same roads, same rules” approach, which requires cyclists to adhere to the same road rules as drivers of motor vehicles. Steve Sidman, Executive Director of the Boston Cyclists Union criticized this approach, noting that the rules applicable to motor vehicles cannot logically be applied wholesale to bicycles. Stidman also recommended the construction of a separate bicycle path on Commonwealth Avenue to reduce bicycle accidents.

Brookline Police Lieutenant Philip Harrington noted that there are no definite plans to adopt the new rule and the department is merely opening the topic for discussion at this point.

Continue reading "Brookline Police Gauge Interest in New Bicycle Law" »

September 30, 2014

Research Shows Danger of Texting While Driving Using Google Glass

Head-up displays like Google Glass were made to assist drivers in multitasking. Rather than reaching for a phone to manually send or receive a text, a driver using Google Glass would be able to read projected messages and dictate replies without ever having to take their hands off the wheel. The concept seems logical to most, yet groups like the Consumers Union and the National Safety Council have cautioned that hands-free, voice-based interfaces can still pose as a dangerous distraction to drivers.

According to a Forbes article published yesterday, a peer-reviewed study conducted by the University of Central Florida in partnership with the Air Force Research Laboratory compared 40-something drivers in a car simulator while wearing the Google Glasses, and their responses to when the vehicle driving in front of them suddenly slammed on the brakes. Researchers found that subjects who had been exchanging messages using Google Glass or a smartphone were just as equally slow to respond. Wearers of the Google Glass did appear to recover more quickly after the near crash, but they also left less distance between the car they were operating, and the car in front of them. This data suggested that the Google Glass reduced participants’ perception to risk.

In a similar study conducted at Wichita State University, researchers found while comparing speech-based texting to handheld texting, there was no significant difference in driver performance. “In fact, the researchers found that both methods of texting significantly impaired driver performance and caused variation in speed and lane position.”

Continue reading "Research Shows Danger of Texting While Driving Using Google Glass" »

September 30, 2014

Walmart Responds to Tracy Morgan’s Lawsuit: "Morgan Should Have Worn a Seatbelt"

Retail supergiant Walmart has finally responded to a lawsuit filed by actor and comedian Tracy Morgan over a deadly car crash that left Morgan in critical condition. Its response: Morgan should have worn a seatbelt.

According to CNN and court documents, Walmart filed a 28-page response to a complaint by lawyers representing Morgan and three others who were injured in the accident, which occurred when Walmart semi-truck driver Kevin Roper collided with the rear end of the Mercedes Sprinter van in which Morgan was riding. Photos released of the incident show the Mercedes was hit with enough force for it to land on its roof and cause a chain reaction crash with four other vehicles. Roper pleaded not guilty in June to criminal charges that included vehicular homicide and assault by auto.

Morgan’s lawsuit claims that Walmart was careless and negligent in the operation of the vehicle that caused the accident, and that it should have known that Roper was not fit to be driving and that it violated Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Regulations enacted to combat the dangers of driver fatigue. Already, it was discerned by officials that Roper was potentially drowsy while he was driving (Roper had been awake for 24 hours prior), and it was speculated that his fatigue was ultimately what caused the tragic accident. Roper has denied that fatigue played a role in the crash.

Continue reading "Walmart Responds to Tracy Morgan’s Lawsuit: "Morgan Should Have Worn a Seatbelt"" »

September 10, 2014

New Ordinance Could Protect Boston Bicyclists By Requiring Protective Side Guards, Convex Mirrors on City Trucks

A new ordinance, The Act to Protect Vulnerable Road Users, could make the roads safer for local cyclists, especially during a Boston bicycle accident. If approved, all trucks over 10,000 pounds that are owned or contracted by the city would be obligated to install new safety features on their vehicles.

Among the added features are protective side guards, which should prevent a cyclist from getting pulled under a truck’s wheels during a Boston truck accident. Trucks would also have to install convex mirrors, which would make it easier for truckers to see more of the road. Meantime, reflective, bright stickers notifying of a truck’s blind spots would let pedestrians and bicyclists know that the driver might not be able to see them.

According to the Boston’s Cyclist Safety Report, between the Summer and Fall of ’12 alone, five Boston area bicyclists were killed. One reason for this is that there has been an increase in the number of bicyclists, which is even more of a reason to make sure that cyclists are getting the protections they need in the event of any kind of Massachusetts traffic crash. The rise in bicycle riders has definitely been enhanced by the New Balance Hubway, which is a bicycle sharing system that gives members access to bicycles located at more than 100 stations throughout the Greater Boston area. Councilor-at-Large Ayanna Pressley, who is one of the lawmakers spearheading the act, called the problem of inadequate bicyclist safety a “public health issue,” said The Globe.

Also according to the safety report, between ’10 and ’12, the Boston Police Department noted 1,446 bicycle accidents, including nine fatalities. There was reportedly an increase in bicycle accidents involving younger riders. Between ’09 and ’12, motor vehicles were involved in 91% of bicycle incidents. Just this Friday a cyclist died in a Medford, Massachusetts traffic crash involving a motorcycle. The bicyclist was a 29-year-old Somerville man. The 52-year-old motorcyclist, from Topsfield, was also injured.

More data from the study:
• Cyclists make up 98% of all injured parties in Boston bicycle accidents.
• The highest number of Boston bicycle crashes happened in the Fenway/Kenmore Allston/Brighton, Jamaica Plain, Roxbury areas, as well as on Commonwealth Avenue, Boylston Street, Mass Avenue, Beacon Street and Dorchester Avenue.

Bicyclists don’t have much protection, even with their protective gear (including their helmets), so the chances of injury in a Massachusetts bicycle accident is high—especially when a large truck is involved.

At Altman & Altman, our Boston truck collisions lawyers have worked with victims and their families in recouping their losses for Massachusetts personal injury and wrongful death. Contact our Boston bicycle crash attorneys today to request your free case consultation.

*The Act, defines vulnerable road users as bicyclists, wheelchair users, pedestrians, and others on the road that are non-motorized.

Proposed Legislation Would Protect Boston Bicyclists, Boston.com, September 10, 2014

Somerfield Bicyclist Killed in Medford Collision with Motorcycle, Boston/CBS Local, September 6, 2014

Hubway

Cyclist Safety Report (PDF)


More Blog Posts:
A Reminder for Safer Summer Biking, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 27, 2014

Actor Tracy Morgan Sues Wal-Mart Over Catastrophic Truck Accident, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, July 16, 2014

No Charges for Driver of Fatal Hit-and-Run Bike Accident, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, June 30, 2014

August 29, 2014

Motorcyclists Fatally Injured in Easthampton, MA Crash

Police from Easthampton, MA are reporting that two individuals were fatally injured while traveling north on their motorcycle. The motorcycle, which had been traveling north, was struck by an oncoming car heading southbound.

According to police reports, 45-year-old James Ainsworth of Springfield, MA crossed the center line on Route 5 yesterday and struck the couple on their bike. News reports indicate that Ainsworth was scheduled to be arraigned this afternoon at the Northwestern district attorney’s office.

MOTORCYCLE ACCIDENTS

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that approximately 81,000 people were injured and 4,612 were killed in motorcycle accidents in 2011 in the United States; a 2% increase from the number in 2010 and a 41% increase from 2002. Motorcycle accidents make up an estimated 14% of the total number of motor-vehicle crashes in the United States each year. The United States watchdog estimates that per every vehicle mile traveled, motorcyclist and motorcycle passengers are 30 times more likely than passenger car occupants to be killed in an accident, and 5 times more likely to be injured during an accident.

Continue reading "Motorcyclists Fatally Injured in Easthampton, MA Crash" »

August 29, 2014

Boston Drivers the Worst in the Country & Tips to Stay Safe While Traveling this Holiday Weekend

A new study published by Allstate Insurance has confirmed what many already know: Boston drivers are some of the worst in the entire country. The study, published this week, reported that the city’s drivers were the second-riskiest in the country based on the average number of reported crashes and the average years between car accidents—roughly 4.4 years.

Places like New York, Chicago, and even Los Angeles (surprisingly) ranked lower than Boston, among another 195 cities. Chicago’s drivers got in an accident roughly every 8.2 years; and New York City 7.8. While the data seems a bit surprising, given the higher volume of traffic in both the Windy City and the Big Apple, one thing cannot be disputed: the “unique” (for lack of a better word) road system in our city which many attribute to why there are so many accidents.

Unfortunately, car accidents are one of the leading causes of death in the United States according to the CDC; with more than 2 million adult drivers and passengers treated in emergency departments annually. The economic and lifetime impacts of car accidents is also substantial; with crash-related deaths and injuries among drivers and passengers costing around $70 billion.

Continue reading "Boston Drivers the Worst in the Country & Tips to Stay Safe While Traveling this Holiday Weekend" »

August 19, 2014

Motorcyclist Awarded $1.15M Settlement in Right of Way Violation Case

A motorcyclist in California was awarded more than one million dollars in a settlement against a woman who collided with him when she drove into his path and violated his right of way.

The motorcycle accident took place in Santa Barbara, California on May 24, 2010. The 55-year-old motorcyclists and construction worker was severely injured during the accident and suffered trauma to both his neck and ankle. According to reports, the woman’s car blocked the man’s path; the man struck the female driver’s car and was catapulted over the top.

Because of his injuries, the motorcyclist was forced to undergo ankle surgery and cervical fusion after months of unsuccessful treatment for his neck pain. Since undergoing surgery, the man has made an excellent recovery. According to court documents, the defending insurance company Liberty Mutual Insurance Co., argued that the motorcyclist had been speeding prior to the accident. The defense also obtained a video of the cyclist picking up and moving items to a storage building within a week of the mediation.

Despite the defense’s claims, the plaintiff claimed speed was not a factor, and it was determined by a life care planner that the man would require future medical treatment due to the severity of the injuries he sustained. The entire process took a year of litigation and was spearheaded by plaintiff attorney Steve Andrade of Andrade Law Offices in Santa Barbara, California.

Continue reading "Motorcyclist Awarded $1.15M Settlement in Right of Way Violation Case" »