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Articles Posted in Pedestrians

Eight months after new high-tech traffic signals were installed in Quincy Center, there have been no pedestrian accidents. That’s a significant achievement, considering that there were 88 accidents involving pedestrians in this area between 2004 and 2013. Of those accidents, 58 resulted in injury and one pedestrian was killed. Despite this success, not everyone loves the new, odd-looking traffic signals.

How to Read the New Signals

The new signals in Quincy Center are known as “high-intensity activated crosswalks”. They are more conveniently referred to as HAWK beacons. Unfortunately, some people find the strange new lights more confusing than helpful. Below are some tips to help you safely navigate HAWK beacon signals when you come across them.

  • Drive through normally if no lights are on.
  • A steady or blinking yellow light means that, while vehicles still have the right-of-way, the light will soon turn red.
  • When both lights are on, the signal should be treated as a red light. Even if no one is using the crosswalk, you must still stop and wait.
  • You should treat the signal like a train crossing when the two red lights are blinking alternatively. Stop, check for people in the crosswalk, then proceed when it is safe to do so.

As you can see from the above instructions, HAWK beacons are not as straightforward as standard traffic signals, at least not until we get used to them. But it’s hard to argue with the fact that since their installation, there have been zero pedestrian accidents in what was once considered one of the most dangerous intersections in all of Massachusetts.  According to Chris Walker, a spokesman for the city’s Mayor Thomas Koch, the new signals are helping drivers and pedestrians alike use the busy intersections in a safer, more responsible manner.

“You can see the benefit of the dedicated signal,” he said. “It’s slowing traffic down through the area.” In addition to the complete absence of pedestrian accidents in the area, there has been a significant drop in motor vehicle accidents since the installation of the signals. A Boston injury attorney can help you determine how to move forward if you’ve been involved in a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident.

Not Everyone’s Feeling the Love

So, why doesn’t everyone love the HAWK beacons in Quincy Center?  Shanayta Carmody would prefer that the city bring back signs instructing vehicles and pedestrians on how to safely deal with the crosswalk. ”It’s very confusing and chaotic since they put this new crosswalk in,” said Carmody. And the new signals may impede the flow of traffic. An observation of the intersection during busy traffic hours revealed backed up traffic from Hancock all the way to the Granite Street intersection. In one instance, cars blocked a crosswalk instead of leaving space for pedestrians. According to Rob Keyworth, who uses the crosswalk on his daily commute to Boston, people don’t know what to do with the new lights. “Nobody has ever seen a setup like that,” he said. A MA injury lawyer can help you determine if you have a successful injury claim following a pedestrian-motor vehicle accident.

Quincy Center isn’t the only area in MA to install HAWK beacons. Several towns across the state have installed similar systems. The federal government considers the HAWK systems to be a “proven safety countermeasure,” and recommends their installation in busy pedestrian crossings. The design, which was developed in the 1990s in Tucson, resulted in a 69 percent decrease in pedestrian accidents following their installation in that city. Continue reading

A boy was struck and killed while riding his bicycle in Brockton Tuesday night. According to Brockton Police Sgt. James Baroud, the accident occurred on Main and Plain streets just before 7:00 PM on Tuesday. Baroud say the unnamed boy, who was about 12 to 14 years of age, was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the vehicle that struck the boy stopped at the scene and was interviewed by police.

In an unrelated accident on the same day, a pedestrian was struck and killed by an SUV in Waltham, and a second pedestrian suffered non-fatal injuries in the same incident. According to Waltham police, the accident, which occurred shortly before 7:00 AM Tuesday, is under investigation. The victim, a 65-year-old Watertown man, was exiting a bus on his way to work when a Lexus SUV struck and killed him. The other person injured in the accident was a 70-year-old Boston man who had also just exited the bus. He was taken to the hospital with serious injuries to the face and legs, but his injuries are non-life threatening. Both men were in the crosswalk on Wyman Street when the accident occurred.

Pedestrian Injuries

Pedestrians are 1.5 times more likely to be killed in a collision with a car than occupants of motor vehicles. In 2013, a total of 4.735 pedestrians suffered fatal injuries from traffic accidents in this country. On average, this is one traffic-related death every two hours. And many more are seriously injured; approximately 150,000 pedestrians are rushed to the emergency department for non-life threatening injuries each year. If you’ve been injured in any type of accident involving a motor vehicle, contact a Boston personal injury lawyer today.

Who’s Most at Risk?

Any person can be injured or killed in a pedestrian accident, but certain people are more at risk.

  • Young people between the ages of 15 and 29 are more likely to receive treatment in an emergency department for pedestrian injuries related to a crash than any other group.
  • Male pedestrians have a greater risk of serious or fatal injury in traffic-related accidents than their female counterparts.
  • The incidence of fatal pedestrian accidents generally rises with age.
  • Alcohol increases the risk of fatal pedestrian accidents; in 2013, approximately 34 percent of pedestrians who suffered fatal accidents had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) of 0.08 or higher.
  • Child pedestrians have the greatest risk of serious injury or death in a traffic-related accident due to their smaller size.
  • In one out of every five traffic-related fatalities among children ages 14 and under, the victim was a pedestrian.

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A young child is in critical condition after an accident that took place in Lynn, Massachusetts on Wednesday afternoon. Initial reports have indicated that a 3 year old boy was struck by a car as the vehicle was turning a corner. According to police officers responding to the scene, the boy had been standing on the sidewalk with his older brother when the older child lost his hold on the young boy. Shortly thereafter, the young boy ran into the street and was struck by a vehicle that was reportedly being driven by an elderly individual. Identities for the victim and the driver of the vehicle have not been released at this time.

Lynn Fire Chief Steve Archer has stated that the accident took place Wednesday afternoon around 1:00 PM at the intersection of Western Ave and Franklin Street in Lynn. The young boy and his older brother had apparently being waiting outside while their mother was finishing up at a laundromat just steps away. Following the accident, the child was immediately transported via ambulance to Massachusetts General Hospital where he is currently listed as being in stable but critical condition in the hospital’s pediatric intensive care unit. Reports have indicated that the child was conscious at the time that he was being transported to the hospital. According to the law enforcement officials investigating the matter, the child had suffered a broken leg after being hit by the vehicle. The child had surgery on Wednesday night at approximately 8:30 PM following his admittance to the hospital in an effort to repair the damage. Lynn Police Lieutenant Dave Brown has stated that all reports indicate that the child is expected to be okay. Lieutenant Dave Brown went on to say that authorities are not immediately aware of any internal injuries the child may have suffered in addition to the broken leg.

The investigation into the matter is ongoing. Police have not indicated if they are going to pursue charges against the elderly driver in regards to the accident. It appears as though the individual operating the vehicle may not have been able to see the small child dart into the street prior to striking him. Lieutenant Glenn Dunnigan has indicated that the child had gone underneath the vehicle after being struck but that he had not been pinned underneath the car following the accident. Law enforcement officials have not stated if there were any additional factors that could have contributed to this accident taking place. It appears as though there may not have been enough time between when the child ran into the road and when he was struck for the operator of the vehicle to have proper time to react and avoid the situation. It is not clear at this time if the driver of the vehicle suffered any injuries during the incident.

The family of Elizabeth Peralta-Luna is suing truck driver Zachary Barngrover and his employer Monson and Sons Inc. for wrongful death. Peralta-Luna, 30, and her two young children, ages 4 and 9, were killed last month in a semi-truck crash.

The three of them were crossing an intersection when they were hit by the truck, driven by Barngrover. The pedestrian accident case contends that the truck driver did not keep a proper lookout, did not yield the right of way to the pedestrians, and he was using a cell phone while operating the large vehicle. Police cited Barngrover for not yielding to the pedestrian, who were walking in a crosswalk, and turning left improperly.

Distracted driving is dangerous driving regardless of the size of one’s vehicle. That said, truck accidents often lead to catastrophic injuries and deaths, which makes driving one while talking on the cell phone or texting even more of an injury and crash risk. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration banned bus drivers and commercial truckers from texting while operating a vehicle in 2010. The following year they banned commercial drivers from using hand-held cell phones at all.

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Several people were seriously hurt in a Somerville, MA multi-vehicle crash today. According to police, the collision occurred when a driver, age 56, suffered a medical incident, causing her to crash her vehicle into a Honda Civic, which burst into flames. The 26-year-old Medford driver of the Honda was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of serious injuries.

The initial traffic crash caused a chain-reaction that involved three other vehicles. Fortunately, the drivers of those cars were not hurt. However, a 16-year-old pedestrian was struck by a car. He was also taken to the hospital for his injuries.

On Thursday, a 62-year-old woman was injured in a Winthrop pedestrian accident when she was struck by an alleged drunken driver who ran a red light and drove onto the sidewalk, striking the victim and a tree. Police say that they found open alcohol bottles in the vehicle, along with two children, an infant and a 6-year-old.

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If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a Massachusetts motor vehicle crash please contact our Boston car accident law firm right away. Unfortunately, serious collisions can happen during the holiday season. You want to speak with an experienced attorney to explore your legal options.

On Christmas Eve, one man died in an East Boston pedestrian accident when he was hit by a truck. No criminal charges have been filed against the driver. The pedestrian was in his sixties.

On Monday, a Charlton multi-vehicle crash on the Massachusetts Turnpike seriously injured one person and killed another. The collision happened in heavy traffic when two cars and a tractor-trailer collided. Another tractor-trailer then hit one of the cars, a 2011 Toyota Camry. The driver of the car was ejected from the vehicle. He was pronounced dead but was later revived with critical injuries. His wife, a 64-year-old woman, died.

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.

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.

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.

Rising fuel prices and warmer temperatures are feeding an increase in pedestrian traffic through the upcoming summer months. Boston is a famously walkable city, as are many scenic cities and towns throughout the Commonwealth. Though crosswalks and warning lights help to keep pedestrians safe, drivers and walkers still face a significant amount of danger when they intersect. Smart Growth America recently published extensive data outlining pedestrian safety by Massachusetts counties and metro areas between the years 2003-2012.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported that traffic fatalities increased in 2012 (the most recent year in which data is available) for the first time since 2005. For the third straight year, pedestrian fatalities have risen significantly on a national level. Smart Growth America’s Massachusetts data provides insight into specific categories and ways in which the state can make life-saving improvements in pedestrian safety.
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