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Articles Posted in Fatal Accidents

If you have a newer model car or truck, it is likely that your vehicle is equipped with a lane departure warning system. A recent study conducted by the insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) concluded that this technology significantly reduces the rate of serious injuries and deaths in a motor vehicle accident. Auto manufacturers introduce new vehicle safety features every year, but not all are as effective as planned. This is not the case, however, with lane departure warning systems.

According to the IIHS, “if all U.S. passenger vehicles were equipped in 2015 with a lane departure warning system, nearly 85,000 crashes and more than 55,000 injuries would have been prevented that year.“ A Boston motor vehicle accident attorney can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to another’s negligence.

Why are Lane Departure Warning Systems So Effective?

According to the vice president for research for IIHS, Jessica Cicchino, a significant percentage of fatal highway accidents involve a car or truck that drifts from its lane. Distracted driving, drowsy driving, and operating under the influence of drugs or alcohol are often factors in lane drift accidents. Although the best advice would be to never drive drowsy, distracted, or impaired, it is impractical to believe that every driver will heed that advice. As such, The use of lane departure warning systems may be the next best solution.

The IIHS study, which was recently published in Consumer Reports, claims that lane departure warning technology could prevent thousands of deaths annually in the United States, and even more injuries. The institute also reported that injuries suffered in single vehicle accidents, head on collisions, and side swipes may be reduced by up to 21 percent with the use of a lane departure warning system. A Massachusetts personal injury lawyer can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics

Auto accidents are one of the leading causes of accidental death in the United States. You can dramatically reduce your risk of serious injury or death in a vehicle crash by always wearing your seatbelt, never driving while impaired, always driving the appropriate speed limit, and never talking or texting when behind the wheel. The statistics below provide additional information about the frequency and severity of motor vehicle crashes.

  • In 2016, there were a total of 34,439 fatal motor vehicle crashes in the U.S., in which 37,461 people died.
  • Across the nation, about 55 percent of motor vehicle crash fatalities involved single-vehicle crashes.
  • Alcohol was involved in about 61 percent of all fatal car crashes in 2016.
  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), distracted driving claimed 3,450 lives in 2016.
  • It is estimated that about 481,000 drivers are talking on cell phones or texting during daylight hours, every day.
  • In a NHTSA study, approximately one in 25 adults reported falling asleep behind the wheel at least once in the previous month.

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Lindsay Corporation, manufacturer of the X-LITE highway guardrail, is facing lawsuits for negligence after 11 deaths have been attributed to its product. Last week, two lawsuits were filed in Tennessee and South Carolina, both alleging that the company’s guardrails fail to protect motorists involved in collisions due to their defective design.

According to the lawsuits, the “end terminal” of the X-LITE guardrail, which rounds out the sharp edges at either end of the guardrail, is the defective component. During a collision, this end component allegedly fails to “telescope,” or slide properly into the rail line. By reducing the force of impact in a collision, the process of telescoping can prevent the guardrail beams from penetrating a vehicle and seriously injuring or killing its occupants. Unfortunately, the X-LITE’s end terminal hasn’t telescoped properly during multiple collisions. And several people have died as a result.

Last April, Tennessee vowed to replace about 1,700 X-LITE end rails. But such a large undertaking doesn’t come cheap. Removing and replacing these end rails is projected to cost the state of Tennessee several million dollars. And although the defective end rails are installed across 29 states, about 80 percent are installed in Maryland, Massachusetts, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia. A MA defective products attorney can help you recover damages if you’ve been injured by a faulty or dangerous product.

Types of Defects Under Product Liability Law

Thousands of people are injured or killed by defective products every year. Many decide to seek compensation for their injuries by bringing a defective product lawsuit against the manufacturer under product liability law. A product may be considered defective if it malfunctions during proper use. The three types of defects under product liability law are:

  1. Design Defect – These flaws occur before the product is even manufactured. For example, a company designing a playground system could accidentally design a slide to be too short. Let’s say the manufacturer (a separate company) develops the playground equipment based on the faulty design. Children keep getting injured when they fall from the slide. In such a case, the design firm alone may be liable. But the manufacturer may also be on the hook; if they specialize in playground equipment, a judge might determine that the manufacturer should have noticed the short slide.
  2. Manufacturing Defect – These flaws occur occur during the manufacturing process. The design is good, but the product becomes flawed during development. For example, if the slide in the above example is designed properly but a broken mold causes the bottom edge to be sharp, this would be a manufacturing defect.
  3. Marketing Defects – When a product is properly designed and manufactured, injuries can still occur because of marketing defects. These flaws occur in the advertising process or due to faulty or misleading labeling. If a certain medication interacts with another medication but lacks a warning label with this information, injuries could occur. This would be an example of a marketing defect.

A Boston defective products lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured due to defective design, manufacturing, marketing, or all three. Continue reading

A 45-year old Dennisport woman was struck and killed earlier this week when she stopped to check on a flat tire. The woman was traveling westbound on Route 6 when she pulled onto the shoulder of the Cape Cod highway. According to police, this area of the highway does not have a breakdown lane. As the woman exited her vehicle, she was struck by a pickup truck driven by a 22-year old Dennis man. The victim, whose name has not been released, was pronounced dead at the scene of the accident.

Safety Tips for Roadside Breakdowns

This tragedy is a stark reminder of the dangers of roadside breakdowns, especially when they occur at night, and on highways or other busy stretches of road. Obviously, if a tire blows or your vehicle breaks down, you have little choice about when and where to pull over. If the area isn’t safe, what do you do? According to the National Safety Council, the tips below can help prevent serious injury and death in the event of a roadside breakdown.

  • The moment you notice a problem, gently remove your foot from the gas pedal. Avoid braking hard or fast. Slowly and carefully move your vehicle to the breakdown lane (if available) or to the side of the road. If you are on a highway and believe you can make it to an exit, try to reach the nearest exit before pulling off the road. Don’t forget to signal your turns to the drivers behind you.
  • Once you have pulled off the road, it’s important to make your car highly visible to other drivers. Preemptively stashing reflective triangles in your trunk is a good idea. If you have these, place them behind your vehicle. Turn on your car’s emergency flashers, and turn on the interior light if it’s dark outside.
  • If you must change a flat tire, make sure that you can do it away from traffic. If this is possible, proceed with changing the tire. If it is not, however, call for professional help. Even if the added delay will create schedule conflicts or other problems, don’t attempt to change a tire yourself in a dangerous location. A MA injury lawyer can help you obtain compensation if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.
  • If the car is beyond repair or you are stopped on a dangerous stretch of roadway, get professional help. Do not attempt to wave down other motorists. If you have a cellphone, call for help. If you don’t, raise your hood and tie something – preferably white – to the antennae to signal that you need help. Stand far away from the vehicle and wait for help.
  • If your car is beyond repair and stopped in a safe location, you can remain in the vehicle. Keep your doors locked and use your cell phone to call for help. If someone stops to offer help, crack the window slightly and politely ask the person to contact the police. A Boston car accident lawyer can help you determine how to proceed if you’ve been injured in a motor vehicle accident.
  • Interstate highways and busy roadways are patrolled frequently by police and other emergency personnel. Many highways also have “call for help” phones; if you can reach one safely, use it. However, walking along a stretch of highway is rarely a good idea. Unless you are sure that you can safely reach a call box or other source of help, do not walk. If you do walk, use the right side of the roadway and never attempt to cross a multi-lane highway.

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The hypothetical scenario is frightening. You’re enjoying a relaxing ride in your automated car. Windows down, soft rock on the radio, chowing on a cheeseburger without a care in the world. Your smart car has safely navigated you to and from work a thousand times, and you trust it implicitly.

But one day, something in the car’s CPU goes haywire, and it doesn’t recognize a detoured area until it’s far too late. The car suddenly computes that it will have to sharply turn left or right since braking hard would cause a rear-end accident. The only problem is that to the left is a crowd of tourists taking pictures of a statue, and to the right is a single mother carrying her child.

What does the car do? How can a car choose between endangering the lives of people behind you, or choosing to veer into the path of pedestrians? When there is no avoiding a potentially-deadly accident, what implications does that have for an automated vehicles?

In the past few years, various automakers and technology firms have been competing to develop a safe autonomous vehicle.  Among the companies involved are many well-known automakers, namely Mercedes, BMW, and Tesla, as well as tech firms like Google.  The concept grew from the logic that computers should be able to more safely operate vehicles than humans who commit errors or unsafe driving behaviors frequently.  This premise may be under scrutiny after a deadly automobile accident involving a self-driving car.  The accident occurred on May 7 in Williston, Florida and involved a Tesla Model S electric sedan.  The driver of the Tesla sedan was killed while the car was in self-driving mode.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration made a statement about the incident saying a tractor-trailer made a left turn in front of the vehicle, and the car failed to apply the brakes.  This is the first known incidence of a fatal crash in which the vehicle was driving itself by means of computer software.  The driver was identified by Florida Highway Patrol as Joshua Brown, 40, of Canton, Ohio.  Brown was a Navy veteran who owned a technology consulting firm.  Tesla made a statement on Thursday saying Brown was a man who “spent his life focused on innovation and the promise of technology and who believed strongly Tesla’s mission.”  Brown had previously posted several videos of himself using the autonomous Tesla vehicle.  In one, he applauded the technology for successfully preventing an accident involving his car.

The release of this story has been detrimental to Tesla’s efforts in expanding its product line from pricey electric vehicles to more conventional models.  It is still unclear whether the car the driver, or both were to blame for the lethal accident.  In a news release, the company said, “Neither autopilot nor the driver noticed the white side of the tractor-trailer against a brightly lit sky, so the brake was not applied.”  Many critics of self-driving cars have noted that this is evidence that computers cannot make “split-second, life-or-death decisions” as humans often need to.  Companies have been conducting tests using self-driving vehicles in private courses as well as public roads.  However, it does not seem that the technology has been tested and developed enough for the government to sign off on the autonomous cars.  The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has recently been working on new regulations concerning testing these self-driving cars on public roads which are anticipated to be released sometime this month.  Continue reading

A tragic accident on Friday morning has resulted in the death of a woman, and a massive, city-wide inspection of all manhole covers on Boston highways. According to police, the woman’s car was struck by a manhole cover as she was exiting the O’Neill Tunnel, southbound on 1-93. The initial investigation into the incident reveals that the dislodged manhole cover became airborne and struck the windshield of the victim’s vehicle. Contact a Boston Injury Lawyer Today.

The female driver, whose name is being withheld until her family can be notified, was killed on impact. The cause of the incident, which occurred at approximately 7:50 am, is still under investigation. According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), a typical manhole cover weight 200 pounds or more. “Our sympathy goes out to the family of the victim involved in this horrific incident this morning,” said MassDOT administrator Thomas Tinlin. “This tragedy is leading us to take several steps immediately out of an abundance of caution.”

Manhole Cover Hadn’t Been Inspected Since 2014

Determining what caused the manhole cover to become dislodged is the first step in the investigation. In response to this tragedy, MassDOT crews and state police are conducting an inspection of each and every manhole cover, electrical panel cover, and grate on highways in and around Boston. The manhole cover that struck the victim’s car had been covering a storm drainage system. The metal object smashed through the car’s front windshield, covered the entire length of the vehicle, and exited through the rear windshield. The car continued to careen down the highway for nearly half a mile before hitting a wall near East Berkeley street.

Reporting on a similar incident in New York last year, a Con Edison spokesman told CBS news that manhole explosions can be caused by damaged underground electrical wires that spark,  igniting gases. According to MassDOT records, the manhole in today’s incident hadn’t been inspected since June 12, 2014. Continue reading

A car that had been driving erratically, nearly avoiding multiple crashes, ended up colliding with a toll booth yesterday and killed the driver of the vehicle following the impact. The fiery crash happened on the Everett Turnpike in Merrimack, New Hampshire on Thursday afternoon. New Hampshire State Police arrived on scene shortly after the accident occurred.

According to reports, a 2006 red BMW had been reported for driving erratically earlier in the afternoon, around 1:00 PM. The car had been traveling south toward Bedford and Merrimack at the time of the initial call for their behavior. It was during this time that the driver of the BMW, who has yet to be identified by police pending family notification, narrowly avoided causing multiple accidents while reaching speeds close to 100 MPH. The BMW had apparently caused a minor crash with a pickup truck during this time period before they barely swerved out of the way in time to avoid a motorcyclist as well as a dump truck traveling along the same highway. Continue reading

A man who was renowned in the Washington D.C. area for the countless hours he spent impersonating Batman at local hospitals has died following a car accident on a highway in Maryland. The man, 51 year old Leonard Robinson of Owing Mills, Maryland, was struck and killed while he was attempting to check the engine of his “Batmobile” along the eastbound I-70 highway on Sunday night. According to police reports, the crash took place at approximately 10:30 PM that evening.

Responding officers have stated that Robinson was hit by a Toyota Camry shortly after he pulled over to inspect the engine of his vehicle, a Lamborghini he had customized to look like a real-life Batmobile. Robinson was apparently coming home from a car show when he suddenly had to pull over in the fast lane in order to check issues he appeared to be having with his engine. It was around this time that the unidentified driver of the Toyota Camry struck Robinson’s Lamborghini, which in turn struck Robinson following the impact—he was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the Toyota Camry did not suffer any injuries during the accident, and investigation into the circumstances surrounding the crash is still ongoing. State police responding to the scene have said that no charges have been filed against the driver at this time.

Leonard Robinson first gained national attention after he was filmed being pulled over by police in 2012 while he was driving his Batmobile in full Batman attire. Before then, however, he was well known for adorning himself in a replica Batman suit in order to visit sick children at nearby hospitals. Reports have indicated that Robinson made his fair share of wealth in the cleaning business and made the decision to purchase over $25,000 worth of Batman shirts, toys, and books that he then gave to the children he was visiting in the hospital. Those who knew Robinson as the man and not just the hero have revered his dedication to bringing smiles to the children who needed it the most. He would frequently visit the Children’s National Medical Center in Washington, and on one visit he took time to reflect on the vast injustices these children were facing every single day. Robinson himself had three healthy children—perhaps a driving factor in his decision to devote so much time to children who weren’t as fortunate.

A Milton, Ma. multi-vehicle collision killed a Mattapan man while injuring three other people on Saturday. Kelly Young was 56.

According to police, the head-on chain-reaction happened when a Boston woman in a Toyota Corolla was rear-ended by a Holbrook man in his vehicle. The impact of the crash sent the man’s auto into oncoming traffic, where it hit Young’s vehicle head on. An 8-year-old girl was among those who were inured.

On Sunday, a deadly Beverly traffic crash claimed the life of a female passenger. The accident happened when the car she was in went through a red light and hit a truck. The driver of the truck was critically injured.

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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.

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