Articles Posted in Interstate Driving

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.

A tragedy occurred in the early hours of the morning on Marathon Monday. Debra Sarno, a 54-year-old taxi driver from Chelsea was killed when a tractor trailer slammed into her cab on the right travel lane on Route 93, and burst into flames. The accident occurred on the Zakim Bridge, a towering monument in the shadow of a city getting ready to run the most meaningful marathon to date in just a few short hours. Flames and plumes of smoke could be seen billowing high into the air as both the taxi and the truck were completely engulfed.

According to WCVB, “Firefighters rushed to help, but the fire proved too intense. By the time the vehicles were towed away, neither were recognizable. Both burned down to the metal.”

The exact cause of the accident remains unclear at this time, but investigators are particularly focused on why Sarno was stopped in the right travel line in the middle of early morning traffic. It is thought that her 2006 Ford Crown Victoria could have stalled, leaving her in an extremely dangerous spot. The Suffolk County District Attorney’s Office says it is still trying to figure out how the tractor trailer carrying a full load of produce hit her. The investigation will prove to be difficult as there was little left of the car and truck when the fire was finally put out, around 7 am.
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Massachusetts State Police confirmed four separate accidents involving a total of 19 cars on I-93 Monday morning. The accidents all took place in the left lane on the northbound side of the highway, right inside the Tip O’Neill tunnel. Traffic became a nightmare as “several miles of backups” were observed even after the crash site was cleared up. According to CBS Boston, the first accident was a chain-reaction involving nine cars. A few minutes later, four motor vehicles were involved in another, separate crash, followed closely by four more cars involved in yet another accident. The chaotic scene was capped off by a minor fender bender involving two vehicles.

State Trooper Todd Nolan said “one person was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital with possible injuries.” CBS Boston reports that the injured person was involved in the initial nine-car crash. There were no injuries in the last three accidents. Luckily, at this time it appears there were no life-threatening injuries, but 19 vehicles are now damaged, some perhaps totaled.

The cause of the crash was not immediately known and is under investigation, according to authorities. Boston has been hit hard with heavy rain all weekend, flooding some roadways and forcing the closure of several tunnels and ramps, including the Prudential ramp off the Pike on Sunday. WCVB Meteorologist Danielle Vollmar explained that, “between 2 and 5 inches of rain have fallen in just a few hours.” The rainfall, combined with temperatures hovering slightly above freezing provided treacherous conditions for especially distracted drivers rushing in on their morning commute. Several factors could have led to the string of left-lane accidents in the same spot including speed, an unsafe stretch of road, or weather. State Police also reported several crashes along the Mass. Pike as well as in Palmer, Shrewsbury, and Chicopee due to ice.
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68 vehicles were involved in a massive pile up on Interstate 290 in Worcester Sunday morning, including three tractor-trailers. Although nobody was killed, two people sustained serious injuries, 35 to 40 people had to go to the hospital, and one dog did not survive this nightmare on the road. In addition to these injuries, many of the vehicles involved in this unprecedented crash were totaled. Mass DOT treated this particular stretch of highway an hour prior to the incident, but the severity of the pileup is proof that hazardous road conditions existed. The fact that so many vehicles were involved in this one collision raises the question, who is responsible?
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An inspection report by the Maine State Police found that the truck and trailer that caused a fatal accident on Interstate 93 last week had violated safety codes and should have been taken out of service.

Part of the wheel assembly detached from a trailer hauling a modular home traveling southbound in Hooksett, New Hampshire on September 18. According to police, a wheel flew off the trailer, struck a northbound police cruiser, and bounced back into the southbound lane, subsequently striking another car, and killing the driver. The trailer, which belongs to Crawford Homes, Inc. which manufactures modular homes, violated numerous safety protocols.

In the report, State Police found that the trailer’s brakes were “inadequate” for safe stopping, as they were contaminated with grease and oil. In addition, the brake hose on one of the truck’s axels had deteriorated and was scraping against another piece of the truck. State Police reports also showed an issue with the service brake, in that when applied, there was significant air loss from the canister. Finally, the trailer’s remaining wheels had improper emergency braking. Safety records from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration indicate that prior to this incident neither the company’s trucks nor drivers had been involved in an accident in two years.

file000474832304.jpgTrucking companies have a lot at stake, as injuries from these types of accidents often tend to be serious or fatal, as, unfortunately was illustrated in the accident last week. Subsequent to any accident, trucking companies may hire a team of investigators in order to mitigate the liability as well as the legal costs associated with the accident. After an accident occurs, it is imperative for the victim and the victim’s family to seek legal counsel with an experienced attorney. Some of the major causes of these types of accidents include driver fatigue, equipment failure, negligent maintenance, overload or improper loading of truck, driver inattention, non-compliance with federal regulations, and speeding. While it is still under investigation, negligent maintenance and equipment failure seem to be the two most prominent factors in what caused last week’s fatal accident.
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Serious traffic accidents in Somerville were down in Somerville in 2012, according to data from Somerville Police. Police Chief Tom Pasquarello announced on Wednesday that serious accidents were reduced by 23.8 percent in 2012.

Pasquarello links the reduction in accidents to the efforts of Somerville police. “There appears to be a direct correlation between the sharp reduction in serious accidents and an aggressive effort by Somerville Police to step up traffic regulation enforcement in high-accident areas,” Pasquarello said.

In 2011, there were 455 serious accidents in Somerville that resulted in personal injury or damage exceeding $1,000. In 2012, there were 350. These numbers don’t take into account crashes that occurred on state highways. Somerville had no motor-vehicle related fatalities in 2012.

Somerville police sought to improve the safety of city streets by focusing enforcement in areas where traffic accidents had occurred in the past. “Using smart enforcement to reduce accidents is making our streets safer for drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians,” Pasquarello said. Somerville police issued 11,076 moving violations in 2012 compared to 8,239 in 2011.

A grant from the Governor’s Highway Safety Bureau helped the Somerville Police Traffic Unit to implement specialized enforcement measures, such as using plain clothes officers as pedestrians and looking for seat belt offenses by drivers who commit other violations. The Unit also focused on enforcing bicycle traffic safety rules. Pasquarello said of these measures, “Enhanced traffic enforcement based on statistical analysis has significantly improved safety for drivers, pedestrians and bicyclists across the city. In the year ahead, we plan to do even more with statistical analysis of trends and hot spots, not only in the area of traffic enforcement, but in other areas of community policing.”

Somerville police, in conjunction with the city’s Department of Public Works and Traffic and Parking Department, have also been analyzing whether roadway, signage, and signaling can make Somerville streets safer.
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As Thanksgiving weekend comes to an end, so does one of the busiest travel weekends of the year, and New England roadways return to business as usual. An estimated 1.7 million people took to the roads in New England the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the days following the holiday proved to be as busy.

The busiest travel days in the Bay State occurred Wednesday and Sunday as major backups and minor accidents occurred. Traffic was heavy on Interstate 93 and the Mass Turnpike on Wednesday; on Thursday, holiday travelers were jammed in a thirteen mile backup on I-90. On Sunday, the intersecting point of Interstate 84 and Interstate 90 proved to be the source of the most traffic during the day.

Two minor car accidents occurred on the Mass Pike this Sunday as well as many similar accidents throughout the weekend. The accidents caused prolonged backups for a major part of the day. No major accidents were reported. Authorities in Connecticut reported that two people had died on the state’s roadways.
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An accident is under investigation in which a 27-year-old man from Lynn died on Monday after a heavy-duty tire/wheel assembly had loosened from a flatbed truck and crashed into his windshield on Interstate 93 in Somerville. State Police spokesman David Procopio said that the flatbed truck was going south on I-93 from when one of four tires came loose from a single strap on the bed of the truck. The tire assembly, weighing approximately 400 pounds, bounced over the median into northbound traffic and subsequently crashed into the windshield of Joseph LeBlanc´s 2003 Mitsubishi Galant. After being hit by the tire, the car continued northbound before it crashed into the median wall and became jammed in between two sections of the retaining wall. Rescue crews used the “jaws of life” to remove the driver. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital where he was pronounced dead.

The vehicle was registered to Ryder Truck in Braintree and was being leased by Sullivan Tire, according to State Police. The tire/wheel assembly was one of four being hauled by Sullivan Tire and was reportedly taking the tire assemblies to a customer. The tires had a tire fill material in them, making them even heavier in an attempt to weigh them down.

The truck driver, Gregory Ross, 62, of Merrimack, N.H., reportedly noticed a strap flapping around and came to a stop as soon as he could. He said: “We had tires strapped on the back of the truck…The pallet they were sitting on broke. So naturally the strap loosened up and they started falling off…I noticed in the review mirrors, naturally, that the strap was flapping and another tire was about to come off.”

Procopio said that no charges have been filed but police are continuing their investigation in order to determine if anyone involved in the crash should receive charges.

If you have been injured in a Massachusetts car accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer.

Sources:

Man Killed After Loose Tire Smashes Car, TheBostonChannel.com, September 19, 2011
Lynn man, 27, dies after tire from truck strikes car on I-93, Boston Globe, September 20, 2011
Merrimack man drove truck involved in fatal I-93 crash in Mass., police say , Nashua Telegraph, September 21, 2011
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A 42-year-old driver from Northwood, New Hampshire, was found Sunday evening on the side of Interstate 93 in Salem after his vehicle rolled over multiple times. Police have confirmed that the driver, Gary Torrey, was not wearing his seatbelt and was ejected from his vehicle upon impact. Torrey´s 1998 Jeep Cherokee reportedly rolled across three lanes of traffic on I-93 North. Police are investigating the accident but the cause is not yet known.

Torrey faces life-threatening injuries and was taken first taken to Lawrence General Hospital and then by helicopter to Massachusetts General Hospital. He was treated at the scene of the accident by Salem Fire and Rescue.

Section 13A, Chapter 90, of the Commonwealth´s General Laws, states that all occupants of motor vehicles in a private vehicle, including vans and trucks, are required to be properly restrained by a seatbelt: “No person shall operate a private passenger motor vehicle or ride in a private passenger motor vehicle, a vanpool vehicle or truck under eighteen thousand pounds on any way unless such person is wearing a safety belt which is properly adjusted and fastened.”

In 2008 alone, there were 364 recorded fatalities and 3,193 severe injuries connected to car crashes in Massachusetts. Since 2002, the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security’s Highway Safety Division has annually implemented the “Click It or Ticket” campaigns and have reportedly helped to increase Massachusetts seatbelt use from 51% in 2002 to 74% in 2009. Fatalities of vehicle occupants also dropped from 57% of crash fatalities to 23% during this same 7-year period.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that seatbelts save over 13,000 lives per year in the United States. The NHTSA provides the following tips on the importance of seatbelt safety:

• Wearing your seatbelt is the best way to protect yourself in an accident • Airbags do not replace seatbelts • To buckle-up correctly, the lap belt and shoulder belt should be secure across the pelvis and rib cage • In order for a seatbelt to work correctly, it must fit correctly; belt extenders or new shoulder belts are available from car dealers and manufacturers.
• Everyone should wear a seatbelt despite age or condition. Pregnant women, obese, and eldery, can all effectively buckle-up safely.

Single-car accidents are common throughout the densely populated state of Massachusetts. Whether you have accidently backed up into a pole or were run off the road by another vehicle, at Altman and Altman we have handled numerous single-car collision cases. Often times when an accident occurs by a phantom vehicle, it is our job to prove that such a vehicle existed. In the above is case above we do not know enough about the circumstances to know if a second car was involved. In cases such as this, seeing if there is any paint transfer, side or rear damage, any possible witnesses, or any other piece of evidence that would help the firm piece together how the accident occurred.

If you have been involved in a road accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Sources:

NH man flown to hospital after Salem rollover crash, The Telegraph, June 27, 2011
Click It Or Ticket Overview, Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security
The top 5 things you should know about buckling up, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
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After a high-speed chase on Interstate 93 South, Frank S. Ceccaroni Jr., 47, from Holliston, is being held without bail. It will be decided if he is a danger to the public in hearing on Monday. In the Woburn District Court, Judge Paul Yee charged Ceccaroni with his sixth offense for driving under the influence of liquor, receiving a stolen vehicle, receiving stolen property, four counts of refusing to stop for police, driving to endanger, driving with a suspended license due to previous drunk driving charges, driving an unregistered car and driving an uninsured car. In addition to these charges, he was cited for attaching plates, speeding and for violating marked lanes.

At 1:15 a.m. on Wednesday morning, State Trooper Peter Stanley pulled over Ceccaroni in a construction zone for swerving between lanes and for almost hitting another vehicle on I-93 South in Stoneham. According to Stanley, Ceccaroni was showing signs of intoxication. The trooper then ran the license plate number and found that the plate belonged to a Dodge Caravan. Stanley noticed the vehicle´s brake lights going on and off while he was checking his license information and Ceccaroni then drove off extremely fast. He reportedly almost hit the road workers and police officers who were directing traffic through the construction zone. According to Middlesex assistant district attorney Amanda Rowan, as he drove off, he was “exceeding speeds of more than 130 mph.”

A high-speed chase ensued and ended in Medford when Cecceroni crashed the vehicle into a trailer truck and was subsequently dragged underneath the trailer truck for a short distance before the truck driver was able to stop. The rescue team had to remove the roof off of the vehicle to extricate Cecceroni. The truck driver was not injured. Rowan commented: “Fortunately this ended with no one, other than the defendant, suffering any injuries…It was an extremely dangerous event.”

State police later confirmed that the car he was driving, a red 2005 Infiniti, was stolen on June 1 from Mass Auto Exchange in Framingham. Police also confirmed that the license plate was stolen from a green Dodge Caravan that was parked at Massachusetts General Hospital when the plates were stolen.

In his arraignment on Wednesday, Rowan asked the judge to hold Ceccaroni as a danger to the public. Lisa Kavanaugh, Ceccaroni’s lawyer, pleaded not guilty on his behalf and asked that the judge send Ceccaroni to Bridgewater State Hospital for evaluation and alcohol abuse treatment. She cited the Commonwealth´s general laws, Section 35 in Chapter 123, in which the definition of an alcoholic is one who has lost control and their livelihood due to their dependency.

Judge Yee instead ordered that Ceccaroni be held without bail at Middlesx Jail in Cambridge until his hearing on Monday. Our office has handled numerous cases where an individual is injured as a result of a police chase. Often times an innocent bystander can sustain the most significant injuries. If one is injured as a result of a police chase many of the same benefits that they are ordinarily entitled to remain, but depending on the circumstances the possibility exists for a potential uninsured motorist claim or an underinsured motorist claim. Some factors that will influence what type of claim can be brought are whether the vehicle involved in the chase was stolen, whether the vehicle was insured at the time of the chase, what type of automobile you or someone in your household had at the time of the accident.

If you have been involved in a road accident, it is in your best interest to contact an experienced Massachusetts car accident lawyer as soon as possible.

Sources:

I-93 chase ends in crash, OUI arrest, The Boston Globe, June 9, 2011
Holliston man charged with Framingham car theft, drunken driving, The Milford Daily News, June 9, 2011
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