Disclaimer - By publishing this information on this Web site, the Boston, Massachusetts law firm of Altman & Altman LLP is not claiming to represent any clients or cases mentioned here. The content provided is designed to inform readers and is not intended as legal advice.
December 19, 2014

NHTSA Reports 326 Massachusetts Traffic Deaths in 2013

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is reporting a decline in both the number of Massachusetts motor vehicle crash fatalities as well as how many occurred in total in the U.S. According to the figures for 2013, there were 326 traffic deaths in the state last year, which is a decline from the 383 fatalities in 2012. Alcohol was a factor in 118 of the Massachusetts traffic deaths in 2013.

Nationally, the country lost 32,719 people in roadway crashes in 2013. This is also a decrease from the 33,782 traffic deaths from the year previous.

Overall, between 2012 and 2013, the U.S. saw a reduction in deaths and injuries of truck occupants, passenger car occupants, pedestrians, and young drivers, as well as in accidents where alcohol was a factor.

Here is the breakdown of some of the national traffic statistics for 2013 (NHTSA):

• 21,132 passenger occupant deaths
• 691 large truck fatalities
• 4,667 motorcycle deaths
• 4,735 pedestrian deaths
• 743 pedalcyclist fatalities

In Massachusetts, our Boston car accident lawyers represent victims (and their families) injured in traffic crashes. Often, people who were hurt in motor vehicle crashes don’t realize that they have other options besides settling with their insurance company or the insurer of the other party involved in a collision. Contact a Massachusetts traffic accident lawyer allows you to find out what else you should do.

Before settling with any of the parties involved, you should talk to a Boston injury attorney who can help you figure out how much your injuries, vehicle damage, medical expenses, rehabilitation, and lost wages are likely to cost. An insurance company may try to get you to agree to amount that doesn’t take into account the full extent of injuries or damages—especially when someone is seriously hurt or left with permanent disabilities.

Also, if you have lost someone in a Massachusetts car accident, you may be able to sue the other party for wrongful death damages. This won’t bring back your loved one but it can allow you to hold the other party accountable and help with the expenses and loss of income that may have occurred because of your relative’s death.

Roadway deaths fall nearly 25 percent in a decade, fatality rates at a historic low, NHTSA, December 19, 2014

2013 Motor Vehicle Crashes: Overview, NHTSA, December 2014 (PDF)

Quick Facts 2013, NHTSA (PDF)


More Blog Posts:
Cape Cod Drowning Death is Second Swimming Fatality at Yarmouth Hotel in Four Months, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, December 18, 2014

Consolidation of Xarelto Injury Lawsuits Gets Opposition from Bayer, Johnson & Johnson, Massachusetts Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, December 5, 2014

Fall River Construction Worker Dies While Working On Natural Gas Lines in Road Project, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, December 12, 2014

December 9, 2014

Dedham, MA Pedestrian Accident Leads to Criminal Charges for Newton College Student

54-year-old Jean Heppler was killed while crossing a street in a Dedham traffic crash on Friday night. Heppler was struck by a vehicle driven by a Mount Ida College student. The driver, Nicolas A. Rivas-Vasquez, pleaded not guilty to leaving the scene of the catastrophic pedestrian accident.

The 21-year-old’s lawyer said that Rivas-Vasquez did not know that his car had hit Heppler. Instead, the college student thought that his vehicle was struck by an object that the wind had blown in.

Although Rivas-Vasquez stopped the car, he claims that didn’t see anything in the mirror. Because of the road he was on, he had to drive another few blocks before he could legally turn back. Even then, Rivas-Vasquez contends he only saw debris. He later turned himself into the authorities.

According to police reports, Heppler’s body ended up between the sidewalk and a guardrail after it was struck.

Heppler’s death is not the only Massachusetts pedestrian accident to make the news headlines this month. Last week, 61-year-old Thomas Ryan died in a Brockton pedestrian incident after he too was hit by a car. His is one of several pedestrian fatalities in that city this year.

Also last week, 19-year-old Trequel Bradsher was killed in a Brockton pedestrian accident after being hit by a drunk driver. The vehicle’s operator, 22-year-old Brian Perkins, had a .10 blood-alcohol level, which is beyond the .08 legal limit in Massachusetts.

Our Massachusetts car accident law firm represents victims and their loved ones throughout the state. Please contact one of our Boston pedestrian accident attorneys today. You should know that your civil case would be separate from any criminal proceedings against a motorist. The best way of maximizing your chances for to recovery is to get good legal representation.

The statute of limitations for filing a Massachusetts personal injury claim is three years from the date of the traffic crash. If you wait to submit a civil claim or lawsuit after that period it won’t be allowed. Getting a Boston pedestrian accident lawyer to start investigating your case as soon as possible is also important because that is when witness accounts will still be fresh and vivid in their memories. Physical evidence can be easier to be obtain earlier on.

Massachusetts Pedestrian Accidents in Winter
With the cold weather here, it is important to know that pedestrians are at greater risk of injury in traffic crashes involving winter conditions for a number of reasons: snow can reduce a driver’s visibility, the roads may be icier for both vehicles and the people walking. Because of ice and slush, vehicles are more prone to slide off roads, placing even pedestrians on sidewalks at peril.

You want to work with a Massachusetts pedestrian accident attorney that knows how to prove who or what caused the incident so that you can get the personal injury or wrongful death compensation that you are owed.

Drunk driver kills teen in Brockton, police say, Boston Globe, December 5, 2014

DA charges student, 21, with fatal Dedham hit-run, Boston Herald, December 8, 2014

Police: Teen Pedestrian Killed by Drunk Driver, NECN, December 6, 2014


More Blog Posts:

Honda Recalls Another 2.6 Million Cars with Takata Air Bags in the U.S., Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, December 8, 2014

Today is the Day Lead Singer Injured in Massachusetts 15-Passenger Van Crash, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 30, 2014

Cape Cod MA Crane Accident Deaths Were Preventable, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, September 26, 2014

November 30, 2014

Today is the Day Lead Singer Injured in Massachusetts 15-Passenger Van Crash

Steve Austin, the frontman for the band Today is the Day, was involved in a Massachusetts 15-passenger van crash over the Thanksgiving weekend. The band was getting ready to resume its tour when the group was struck by an auto that was hit by another vehicle.

On his Facebook page, Austin wrote that one of the cars hit the side of their vehicle, causing the 15-passenger van to spin some 180 degrees and then flip over. Austin says that he and a friend were thrown “super hard” in the vehicle, as glass burst everywhere, sparks flew, and transmission fluid poured in. The two of them climbed out of the van as soon as it came to a stop.

An ambulance took the men to the hospital where Trevor was treated for cuts and bruises. He claims that the drivers of the other two vehicles deny that they were at fault.

Austin isn’t the only singer recovering from a traffic crash. U2’s Bono recently underwent extensive surgery after sustaining multiple injuries in a NY bicycle crash, which has been described as a “high energy” collision.

The singer sustained a broken scapula, a facial fracture, and a compound fracture to the left humerus. Three metal plates and 18 screws were used to repair his humerus. He also fractured a finger. Bono will have to undergo intensive therapy to recover.

While traffic crashes in Massachusetts that happen to non-celebrities typically don’t get as much media attention, this doesn’t mean that serious aren’t sustained in many the collisions. Our Boston car accident lawyers represent clients injured in truck accidents, bus crashes, car collisions, single-vehicle accidents, bicycle accidents, motorcycle crashes, and other types of traffic accidents.

Today Is the Day Frontman Involved in Serious Van Crash, Loudwire, November 30, 2014

Bono Suffers Serious Injuries In Central Park Bicycle Accident, Huffington Post, November 20, 2014


More Blog Posts:
Airborne Sheet of Ice Crashes into Family’s Car; Causes Heavy Damage, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 30, 2014

MBTA Subway Trolleys Collide in Dorchester: Passengers Injured, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2014

Hundreds of Risperdal Lawsuits Blame Drug For Causing Gynecomastia in Males, Drug Injury Lawyers Blog, November 19, 2014

November 30, 2014

Airborne Sheet of Ice Crashes into Family’s Car; Causes Heavy Damage

A mother and her two young daughters were involved in a scary accident yesterday on Route 111 in Hudson, New Hampshire.

Lisa Beauchemin, 35, was driving her Volvo wagon Saturday when a sheet of ice flew off a white van and shattered the Volvo’s windshield. The ice was so forceful, it nearly penetrated the passenger’s compartment, police said. Despite being showered with shards of broken glass, Beauchemin and her daughters were uninjured.

With the first big storm of the season, Massachusetts State Police are urging drivers to clean their cars completely of snow and ice prior to hitting the roads.

Accumulating layers of snowfall and ice on top of cars is especially dangerous because it can slide off and blind you or go through a fellow drivers’ windshield—as was the case yesterday. Additionally, state officials caution drivers to take extra precautions when there’s snow on the ground, such as driving more slowly and keeping a safe distance between vehicles.

The U.S. Department of Transportation reported that nearly one quarter of all car accidents (1.5 million) in the United States are caused by weather—winter is unsurprisingly the most dangerous season. Winter weather including snow, sleet, and frigid temperatures contribute to hazardous road conditions. Ice and black ice are products of wet weather and freezing temperatures are the main culprits behind the majority of serious weather-related incidents.

Continue reading "Airborne Sheet of Ice Crashes into Family’s Car; Causes Heavy Damage" »

November 26, 2014

Actor Tracy Morgan May Not Completely Recover from TBI Sustained in Walmart Truck Crash

Five months after comedian Tracy Morgan sustained serious injuries in a truck accident, his lawyer is now saying that it is not certain whether or not the performer will fully recover. Morgan sustained a traumatic brain injury and numerous broken bones after the vehicle he was riding in was rear-ended in a tractor-trailer crash involving a Walmart vehicle. His friend, comedy writer James McNair, died from his injuries.

Now, Morgan’s lawyers are saying that because of the severity of his TBI, they don’t know if he will recover to become the “Tracy Morgan he once was.” Morgan’s uncertain progress is indicative of how with certain brain injuries it can take a while before doctors are able to determine to what extent a patient will get better.

Morgan filed a truck accident lawsuit against Walmart seeking damages. Other plaintiffs in the semi-truck crash case include Morgan’s assistant Jeffrey Millea, Krista Millea, and comedian Ardie Fuqua. They want compensatory damges, punititve damages, statutory damages, legal costs, and pre-and post judgment interest.

According the semi-truck crash complaint, Walmart truck driver Kevin Roper crashed the tractor-trailer into the limousine van that was transporting Morgan and others. The plaintiffs are accusing the retail chain of negligence and carelessness in the ownership and operation of its truck.

They contend that Roper fell asleep at the wheel because he was too tired to drive. The plaintiffs believe Walmart should have known or knew that the trucker had not slept for over 24 hours prior to the crash. A National Transportation Safety Board report notes that Roper was traveling 65 mph in a 45 mph zone.

Roper had just driven 700 miles from his home in Georgia to Delaware before starting his shift. The truck crash lawsuit pointed out that Roper could have started his shift at numerous other distribution facilities closer to his home so he wouldn’t have had to drive so far.

If you were injured in a Boston tractor-trailer crash, you should speak with a Massachusetts motor vehicle accident law firm right away.

Tracy Morgan Sues Walmart Over Deadly Crash, The Hollywood Reporter, July 11, 2014

Tracy Morgan may not fully recover from traumatic brain injury sustained in car accident, The Washington Post, November 19, 2014

National Transportation Safety Board


More Blog Posts:
CPSC Votes to Make Mandatory Standards for Window Covering Cords, Boston Injury Lawyer Blog, October 11, 2014

Boston Porch Collapse Injures One Worker, Kills Another In Jamaica Plain Construction Accident
, Massachusetts Workers' Compensation Lawyer Blog, November 26, 2014

46.3 Million to Hit Roads Thanksgiving Weekend: Tips You Need to Know to Protect Your Family, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, November 21, 2014

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" »