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.

Articles Posted in Distracted Driving

It should be obvious, shouldn’t it? Using Facebook or Instagram while driving is a bad idea. But knowing what’s right and doing what’s right are two entirely different things. Unfortunately, statistics show that although we may know the dangers of using social media while driving, we’re still doing it. A recent survey sponsored by the National Safety Council revealed that 74% of those surveyed use Facebook while driving, and 37% use Twitter. YouTube and Instagram came in close behind. People are even playing video games while driving. Last year, a Maryland man crashed into a parked police car while playing “Pokemon Go.”

In 2008, Jennifer Smith’s mother was killed when a 20-year-old who was using her cell phone drove through a red light. “As I’m talking to new families, more and more of them are telling me, ‘It’s Snapchat,’ ” said Smith. “It’s Snapchat today, but then what is it tomorrow? You know, we’ve got the ‘Pokemon Go’ coming, and then it’s the next thing.” Smith works full time to lobby for legislation that will prevent accidents like the one that killed her mother. “Social networking while driving is not necessary and should not be done by anyone, in any way, who’s driving. Period. And somehow we’ve got to make the whole country understand that.” A MA auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured by a distracted driver.

Distracted Driving Likely a Factor in One-Quarter of all Crashes in Massachusetts and Around the Country

Unfortunately, it looks like we have a long way to go before drivers – especially young drivers – change their distracted-driving habits. In a recent survey of 2,500 teens, nearly 70 percent admitted to using apps while they drive. Only six percent of those surveyed said they think that social media is the most distracting behavior while driving. But distracted driving kills an average of eight people every day, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. And that is likely a massive underestimation. Proving that an accident was caused by distracted driving isn’t an easy thing to do. The National Safety Council estimates that distracted driving is actually responsible for about 25 percent of all crashes.

Social Media Slows Reaction Time More than Alcohol

In fact, according to a study conducted by the Transport Research Laboratory and the Institute of Advanced Motorists, the reaction time for a driver who has been drinking is reduced by 12 percent; for someone on their smart phone, it’s a 38 percent reduction. And the use of social media is making things even worse. Kids are growing up in a society where it’s socially acceptable to post a picture of the congested traffic they’re sitting in on their drive home. Distracted driving is never ok. A Boston auto accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a distracted driver. Continue reading

Poor driving habits and inexperience are the main factors involved in teen driving accidents. Parents often look forward to the moment when their teenage children can drive themselves to school and sports practices, but this momentous occasion can also result in parental anxiety and fear. Considering that auto accidents are the leading cause of death for teens in the United States, parents have a reason to feel anxious. Fortunately, most of these accidents are preventable. This back to school season, teach your teen driver how to avoid being seriously injured or killed in a preventable auto accident.

Teens have a tendency to feel invincible. This “Superman Complex,” coupled with a lack of experience behind the wheel, can be extremely dangerous. Poor driving habits such as speeding, and reckless and distracted driving, are common factors in teen driving accidents. As a parent, the first step in combating these behaviors is to provide a good example. Practice what you preach; don’t text or talk on your cell phone when behind the wheel. If you must take a call, find a safe spot to pull over before doing so. Keep your phone in the glove box or stashed away in your purse while driving. Our children pay attention to our behaviors more than we think. A Boston auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another driver’s negligence.

Safety Starts with the Vehicle

In addition to setting a good example, it’s important to set your teen driver up for success. This means providing your young one with a safe vehicle to drive. It doesn’t mean you have to spend $30,000 on a trendy, brand new car. Older cars can be just as safe if they are well-maintained. Check tires to ensure they are properly inflated and have sufficient tread. Bad tires are more prone to hydroplaning on wet roads and blowing out at high speeds. A young, inexperienced driver is less likely to respond appropriately in either of those situations.

8 Danger Zones

According to the CDC, at least one of the eight scenarios below is a factor in most teen car accidents.

  • Inexperience
  • Driving with teen passengers
  • Driving at night
  • Distracted driving
  • Fatigued driving
  • Not wearing a seatbelt
    Reckless driving
  • Impaired driving

Safety Tips From the Insurance Information Institute

If you have teen drivers in your household, educating them about good driving behaviors can help reduce their chances of becoming a statistic:

  • Before purchasing a car for your teen, do your research. Check to make sure the vehicle has performed well in crash tests and ranks highly for safety.
  • If your area or school offers a driver education or “safe driver” class, enroll your child in the program immediately.
  • Talk to your children frequently about the dangers of impaired driving, distracted and reckless driving, speeding, and other bad driving behaviors. Even if they roll their eyes, they are
  • Teen drivers should avoid having teen passengers for at least six months to a year after they get their license.
  • Always model good driving behaviors for your teen.

Continue reading

We are in the midst of what the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety calls “the 100 deadliest days of summer,” during which teen driving fatalities rise every year. In fact, according to AAA, “new teen drivers are three times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash.” Fatal teen accidents are a growing problem, but there are steps we can take to protect our children from becoming a statistic. Read on for more information about how to avoid serious injury or death in a motor vehicle accident this summer.

Why Summer?

First, it’s important to understand why teen driving fatalities increase in summer months. There are numerous factors, including:

  • Teens are not in school.
  • Teens are on the road more in summer than during the school year.
  • Teens have significantly less driving experience than their adult counterparts.

So what should parents do?

Be a Role Model for Your Teen Driver

Parents are the number one role model for teen drivers. Spend as much time as possible driving with your children to ensure that they have ample time to get acclimated to different driving conditions and situations. It’s also crucial to model good driving behaviors for your children. That means no speeding or texting while driving, and always wearing your safety belt. And talk to your kids about dangers, especially distracted and aggressive driving. A MA auto accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been harmed due to a distracted or aggressive driver.

Teen Driving Dangers – Statistics

The following statistics are provided by the AAA Foundation:

  • When teens are driving with one other teen passenger, their risk of a fatal accident increases by 44 percent.
  • When three or more teen passengers are in the car, the risk of a fatal accident quadruples.
  • When an adult passenger age 35 or older is present, the risk of a fatal accident decreases by 62 percent.
  • About 70 percent of teens admit that they they’ve used a cell phone while driving in the past month.
  • More than 50 percent of teens admit to texting while driving in the past month.
  • Approximately 80 percent of teens underestimate the dangers of their own distracted driving habits.
  • About 94 percent of teens admit to keeping their cell phones turned on while driving.

A Boston motor vehicle accident attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

How to Prevent Teen Driving Fatalities in Summer, and All the Time

The death of a child is every parent’s worst nightmare. Considering that motor vehicle accidents are the leading cause of death for young people, it’s essential to educate teens on safe driving behaviors. The following tips can help you protect your teen this summer, and all the time.

  • Tell teens to never text or talk on their cell phone while driving. Teach them to put their phone in the glove box while driving, and pull over to a safe location if they need to send a text or make a call.
  • Speeding is always dangerous, but it’s especially risky for inexperienced teen drivers. Teach your kids to always follow the posted speed limit.
  • If possible, new teen drivers should avoid driving at night or in inclement weather until they have more experience. Evening hours and weekends are the worst time for teen accidents, year round.
  • Remind teens that summer is the deadliest month for teen auto accidents. They may roll their eyes at your constant reminders, but they will

Continue reading

In many ways, millennials have had an uphill battle; they inherited a struggling economy, lackluster job market, and even a reputation for being lazy and selfish. Stereotypes of millennials living in their parents’ basement, taking selfies and binge watching Netflix all day are just that – stereotypes. But there may be some merit to the claims that millennials are not the best drivers. In fact, a new AAA Foundation study says that young millennials are among the worst drivers on the road.

It’s no surprise that novice teen drivers have a greater risk of being involved in an auto accident than their older, more experienced counterparts. In addition to lack of experience, teens are more inclined to practice dangerous driving behaviors, such as distraction, speeding, and reckless driving. However, teens are not the biggest concern. In fact, young millennials – people between the ages of 19 and 24 – are the drivers with the most dangerous behaviors.

The AAA study reports that ““88% of young millennials engaged in at least one risky behavior behind the wheel in the past 30 days, earning the top spot of worst behaved U.S. drivers.” A MA auto accident lawyer can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been harmed by another driver’s negligence.

What Dangerous Driving Behaviors Do Millennials Engage in the Most?

Any behavior that takes your focus from the road or limits your ability to safely control your vehicle can be deadly. The AAA study linked the following behaviors to young millennial drivers:

  • Driving and texting
  • Speeding
  • Running red lights

In 2015, traffic fatalities increased by approximately seven percent, making it “the largest single-year increase in five decades.” So why such a rise in roadway deaths? Careless driving may be the culprit.

Young People Underestimate Dangers

According to the AAA Foundation’s executive director Dr. David Yang, many people in this age group simply don’t understand the severity of their driving behaviors. “Alarmingly, some of the drivers ages 19-24 believe that their dangerous driving behavior is acceptable,” said Yang. “It is critical that these drivers understand the potentially deadly consequences of engaging in these types of behaviors and that they change their behavior and attitudes in order to reverse the growing number of fatalities on U.S. roads.”

Young Millennials – Dangerous Driving Statistics

Studies continue to prove that careless driving is a problem with young millennials. But what constitutes “careless driving”? See below for a few examples.

This age group:

  • Reads text messages six times more frequently than other age groups.
  • Is nearly twice as likely to send a text while driving.
  • Is four times as likely to speed.

And about 14 percent of young millennials think it is acceptable to run a red light just as it’s about to turn red, even if it’s still possible to come to a complete stop. A Boston motor vehicle accident lawyer can help you determine how to recover damages if you’ve been injured in an auto accident. Continue reading

A pedestrian was struck and fatally wounded by an SUV in a Trader Joe’s parking lot on Tuesday. According to police, a driver in his 20s was backing up in the parking lot of the Acton store when his SUV hit the victim. Although the victim’s name hasn’t been released, police say she was an employee of Trader Joe’s and was in her 60s.

The driver, who has not been charged, remained at the scene following the accident. Acton police Chief Richard Burrows said that investigators are questioning the man, but that the incident was most likely a “tragic accident.”

Parking Lots See 20 Percent of All Car Accidents

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, about 20 percent of all motor vehicle accidents occur in parking lots. Most of these accidents only result in property damage, but injuries and death do occur. Typically, the most serious injuries and deaths involve “backing-over” injuries, as in the tragedy above. Especially in this age of rapidly-advancing technology, backing-over accidents are often due to a distracted driver, distracted pedestrian, or both.

Most parking lot injuries are minor, such as cuts and bruises, whiplash, and strained muscles or ligaments. Parking lots can have a false sense of security. We tend to use more caution and focus when driving down the road. It’s not uncommon for drivers to start backing out of a parking space before they’ve put on their seat belt, adjusted the stereo, and stopped checking emails or text messages. Unfortunately, this level of distraction can be deadly.

Parking lots don’t have traffic signals because cars are usually traveling at relatively low speeds. And even if they did, enforcement would be difficult. Larger establishments sometimes hire security vehicles to keep an eye on the parking lot, but most go without. In addition, security guards don’t have the authority to hand out traffic tickets. A Boston injury lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in an auto accident.

Distracted Driving and Parking Lots Are a Deadly Combination

Tuesday’s fatal accident will impact the lives of many people who were close to the victim. It will certainly impact the life of the young man who hit her, as well. We would be wise to use this tragedy as a reminder to pay attention at all times when behind the wheel, even in a parking lot.

What to Do if You’re in a Parking Lot Accident

For the most part, you should treat a parking lot accident like any other motor vehicle accident. Follow the tips below if you find yourself in this situation:

  • Don’t leave the scene without first exchanging information with the other driver, even if you’re at fault. Exchange insurance and contact information at the very least.
  • Do not offer or accept money for damages. If you’re at fault, the other person could accept your money and then still file a personal injury claim. If the other driver is at fault, accepting money could preclude you from collecting more money if you discover further damages.
  • Call the police if there are injuries, significant property damage, of if the accident is blocking traffic. They will write an accident report which can help immensely if you file a personal injury claim.
  • Take pictures of property damage and / or injuries from multiple angles.

Continue reading

In the wake of a lawsuit against Apple for a fatal accident involving a FaceTime-ing driver, a new lawsuit has been filed against the tech giant. The class action lawsuit alleges that the company put profits before the safety of its customers and the general public. The FaceTime-ing accident resulted in the tragic death of five-year-old Moriah Modisette. The new lawsuit alleges that Julio Ceja was rear ended because a distracted driver was texting on an iPhone.

Should the irresponsible behavior of a driver be Apple’s fault? Well, the class action is not seeking damages for Ceja’s back injury. Rather, it wants to hold the tech company accountable for failure to implement a “lock-out” feature for drivers. Apparently, the company holds a patent for this feature. Both lawsuits claim that implementing the feature would prevent iPhone-related distractions. If you’ve been injured in an auto accident due to a distracted driver, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.

What is Driver Lock Out?

Motor vehicle accidents resulting in serious injuries and death have been declining in recent years. Much of this decline is directly related to improved vehicle safety features. From back-up cameras and sensors to lane-keep assist, advanced safety technologies have had a positive impact on American roadways. Toyota recently patented one of the newest technologies, an “augmented-reality windshield”. The smart windshield has the potential to alert drivers to road hazards and provide enhanced information throughout the driving process.

Vehicle Safety Features

Although Toyota’s new windshield is still in planning stages, it is just one many emerging technologies aimed at improving road safety. Other popular safety features include:

  • Lane-keep assist: When a vehicle drifts out of its intended lane, this feature will gently steer the vehicle back into the original lane.
  • Collision warning system: If a collision seems imminent, this feature will alert the driver.
  • Advanced park assist: This system allows a driver to parallel park without touching the steering wheel.
  • Adaptive headlights: Instead of relying on a fixed setting, advanced headlights adapt to changing road conditions.
  • Adaptive cruise control: This feature maintains the driver-set speed but adjusts based on changing distance of the vehicle ahead.
  • Drowsiness alert: Using a combination of driver and vehicle data, this system alerts the driver when he or she needs to pull over and rest.

Does Eliminating Human Error = Safer Roads?

Most of the above features were born out of a trend toward self-driving vehicles.  “The movement toward autonomous vehicles — self-driving cars — has brought high-tech safety features to today’s cars, too,” says the vice president of property and casualty loss prevention and safety programs for USAA, Jim Salek. “Many of the groundbreaking advances in the area of car safety have come from these efforts.” Human error is almost always involved in motor vehicle accidents, so it stands to reason that autonomous – or at least partially-autonomous cars would be safer.

Toyota’s smart windshield has multiple features aimed at improving the driving experience and reducing serious injuries and death. For example, information such as navigation and speed are displayed on the windshield, preventing the driver from having to take his or her eyes off the road at regular intervals. If you have been injured, contact a Boston injury lawyer today.

Displaying information on the windshield is not particularly new. However, in addition to simply displaying the info, it is placed in the best spot for the driver’s viewing needs.  “An [engine control module] analyzes the steering angle and speed, a front-mounted camera identifies the lane markings, and an interior camera finds the driver’s viewpoint,” claims a report on the Autoblog website. “By combining this data, the system moves the information around the windshield to be in the best location.” For example, when speeds increase, the display will move up on the windshield and the information will get smaller as the driver’s gaze moves up. The Autoblog report went on to say, “Toyota’s patent seems both incredibly useful and quite realistic.The individual components for this tech already exist, but [Toyota’s] idea employs them in new ways. We hope the company licenses the idea out for other HUDs because the applications could be a lot of fun.” Continue reading

Even just 10 years ago, smart phone technology at the complexity and availability that we have today was relegated to the pages of starry-eyed technology articles, optimistic tech companies, and futuristic television shows and movies. The first iPhone didn’t come out until mid-2007, and anybody who owned one of those clunkers can attest that we’ve come a long way since then.  Fast-forward back to the present, and we now live in a world where, literally, almost 100 percent of people under the age of 50 own a smart phone. Statistics from State Farm’s 2015 annual distracted driving survey showed that 99 percent of people aged 18-29 owned one, 97 percent of people aged 30-39 owned one, 92 percent of people aged 40-49 owned one, and a whopping 74 percent of people aged 50+ own one as well.

Age is no longer a factor in owning a smart phone, which could be described with no trace of hyperbole as “distraction machines” when you’re on the road. Texting, apps, on-demand video, social media and relentlessly-updating emails provide a buffet of content that we have never been more addicted to or reliant upon.  Some statistics indicate that more than 600,000 people are attempting to use their phones in some capacity while behind the wheel of a car at any given moment during the day. Although people admitting to sometimes talking on the phone while driving has decreased significantly from 65 percent in 2009 to 51 percent in 2015, the much more dangerous practice of texting and driving increased from 31 percent in 2009 to 36 percent in 2015.

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), traffic deaths have risen more than 10 percent in the first half of 2016 than during the first half of 2015, indicating a frightful trend. In 2014, 3,179 Americans died on the road as a result of distracted driving incidents.

Teens at higher risks than anybody

According to AAA, teens are involved in more driving accidents than any other age group of people. In 2013, about 963,000 drivers aged 16-19 were involved in police-reported accidents, resulting in 383,000 injuries and 2,865 deaths. According to data from AAA and the NHTSA, about 58 percent of all teen accidents and 10 percent of teen driving fatalities involved some element of distracted driving.  A 2015 study utilized cameras to observe distracted driving incidents, and showed that distracted drivers had their eyes off the road for over four seconds. In rear-end incidents, half of the distracted teens observed were so distracted that they didn’t even attempt to stop before making impact. Although it’s hard to tell teenagers they aren’t invincible, these kinds of careless decisions can have much more dire consequences. Continue reading

We all know the dangers of texting and using Smartphones while driving, but what about smartwatches? If you aren’t yet familiar with the latest craze in internet gadgets, you will be soon. With the release of Apple’s updated smartwatch, the devices are spiking in popularity, leading many experts to question how their use impacts the risk of distracted driving.

The debate about whether or not smartwatches are considered hands-free devices has recently been decided for us, with a very definitive answer. Although smartwatch use doesn’t necessarily require you to use your hands in the same way you do when picking up and swiping the screen of a smartphone, your hands are still involved in the process. If, for example, both hands are placed on the wheel, you will have to remove the hand with the smartwatch, tilt your wrist to read the message, and momentarily take your eyes off the road. And smartwatches can be even more distracting than a smartphone, requiring you to focus on a tiny, brightly lit screen to view the desired information. Motor vehicle accidents are expected to increase as the use of smartwatches and smartphones increases.

Smartwatches – More Dangerous Than Smartphones?

According to UK-based road safety group, the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), smartwatches have the potential to be more dangerous than smartphones. Smartphones can often be operated with one hand, while smartwatches always require the use of both hands. In addition, phones can easily be left in a pocket, handbag, center console, or glove box. Unfortunately, the location of a smartwatch will typically demand the attention of its wearer each time it sends notification of a message. Disciplining ourselves to keep our focus on the road has just become even more difficult. Contact a Boston Car Accident Attorney Today.

Hands-Free Laws

Many states, including Massachusetts, have “hands-free laws” requiring drivers to use only hands-free devices when driving. So, is it legal to use a smartwatch when behind the wheel? If it is not legal to use a hand-held device while driving, smartwatch device isn’t legal either. Of course, proving that a driver was actually using the watch affixed to his or her wrist will likely be difficult.

Use your head and avoid the dangers of distracted driving. Put your smartphone away while driving, and remove your smartwatch before you get behind the wheel. Your safety, and that of everyone you share the road with, depends on it. Continue reading

The dangers of distracted driving are well known. In fact, 46 states currently have laws against texting while driving. Most major highways are now equipped with “text stops”, designated pull-offs where drivers can safely, and easily, exit the road and read or send text messages. But despite the risks, millions of Americans still use their cell phones while driving every day. And texting is no longer the only phone-related concern. Apps, including Snapchat and Instagram – and even driving-related Apps, such as Waze – are taking our attention from the road.  Anyone driving in and around the Greater Boston area can see this problem on a daily basis – whether driving to or from work or just to the local market – if you look around you will see drivers  constantly looking down at their phones – and it’s very dangerous. Very dangerous. How dangerous you ask, look at the statistics below…

70% of Teens Report Using Apps While Behind the Wheel

All ages are guilty of talking, texting, or otherwise using cell phones while driving, but teens are the biggest offenders. Students Against Destructive Decisions (SADD) recently partnered with Liberty Mutual Insurance to conduct a survey of 2,500 teen drivers. Of those surveyed, about 70 percent reported using apps while driving. This is a scary statistic, but it gets even worse. When 2,400 drivers of all ages were surveyed by the National Safety Council (NSC), 74 percent reported using Facebook while driving.

Distracted Driving May be to Blame for 25% of Auto Accidents

Distracted driving is one of the leading causes of deadly auto accidents in the United States. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), more than eight people are killed and 1,000 people are injured due to distracted driving, every single day. However, because distracted driving is rarely reported and hard to prove, these figures are likely much higher. The NSC estimates that approximately 25 percent of all auto accidents are a direct result of cell phone use while driving.

The average driver has traveled the length of a football field in the time it takes to read a single text. That is far too long to have your eyes off the road. If anything unexpected happens – an animal runs in front of your car, another car swerves, the car in front of you slams on its brakes – the results could be deadly. Continue reading

Contact Information