Distracted driving is now the main focus of auto safety advocates, displacing drunk driving though that still remains a major concern and will likely continue until autonomous or self-driving vehicles become the norm. And the concern over distracted driving is really over use of smartphones with Apple becoming the antagonist in the discussion. Apple has been sued in various lawsuits for allowing its phones and apps to be used by motorists despite apparently having the technology that may disable the device while driving or at least give the user an opportunity to do so.
In a recent trucking accident on Interstate 93 in Milton, Massachusetts, a truck carrying a heavy load of cheese flipped on its side, damaging guard rails, taking down power lines and causing major delays. Fortunately, no one was injured other than the sensitivities of cheese lovers.
Although we can make cheese jokes at the driver’s expense, what is frightening is that the truck driver was given a chemical test that revealed he had a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) level of 0.11%. Motorists cannot legally drive with a BAC of 0.08% or higher. Commercial drivers, like the cheese truck driver, are driving unlawfully if their BAC is at least 0.04%. Motorists should not drive with any alcohol in their system whatsoever. It impairs.
Bay state residents may be politically liberal but we are also libertarian-minded when it comes to certain issues such as wanting the government to stay out of particular social matters. However, this streak of free thinking and hands-off attitude does not translate well when it comes to seat belt use.
Massachusetts ranks third to last in the entire country when it comes to seat belt use, behind New Hampshire and South Dakota. Amazingly, New Hampshire only requires those over 18 to buckle up. It has been a struggle through the years to get our Commonwealth residents to use their seat belts but efforts to make non-seat belt use a primary violation have failed. Currently, you cannot be stopped or ticketed for failing to use your seat belt unless you first are observed to have violated some other ordinance or traffic law.
Motorcycle accidents and fatalities have been decreasing for several years but in 2016, state officials are finding that the trend is reversing. There are likely several reasons for this unfortunate circumstance.
Officials are mostly blaming the mild winter for the rise in motorcycle accidents. Traffic observers commented that they rarely if ever saw motorcycle accidents in the winter months in prior years but the warm weather brought out riders as early as February in 2016. There have been 2 fatal motorcycle accidents each month from February to April giving the state a head start toward exceeding its average of 38 to 46 fatalities it experienced in the past 3 years. Warm weather always brings out more vehicles and as a result, and the incidence of accidents are bound to increase.
The end of the Massachusetts boating season is here. Boating is a popular pastime for millions of people. Being on the water can be a relaxing experience with opportunities to enjoy the vistas, cool breezes, sun, and to fish, swim, water ski or spend time with friends and family. Unfortunately, boat collisions and boating accidents are not uncommon and the consequences can be catastrophic for the victims.
Pokemon Go is the latest interactive app on smart phones that has users roaming through city streets, parks and historical sites to hunt down these unusual animated figures. The game challenges users to find and capture these various Pokemon figures. Unfortunately a substantial number of people are continuing to play the game while driving. Most of these individuals are teens or young adults and, combined with their inexperience, feelings of invulnerability and passion for games, the practice can result in tragedy, as what happened recently in Japan.
The summer months are often the most enjoyable for most of us. School is out and the warm weather invites more outdoor activities such as going to the beach, camping, fishing, traveling, biking, and enjoying street fairs and concerts. Unfortunately, it is also the deadliest season for traffic accidents and fatalities across the nation.
Ride sharing is here to stay, thanks to the aggressive efforts of companies like Lyft and Uber to side-step commercial regulations that apply to taxis and limousines. Major cities including Boston have swarms of ride share drivers to rival cab companies much to the delight of residents but not necessarily the cab companies and cab drivers who have protested bitterly about their presence.
Recently, residents along Beacon Street in Back Bay were treated once again to an incident of street drag racing that has plagued this stretch of roadway and those who reside on or near it for much too long. In this case, one of the racing vehicles jumped the curb and struck a pedestrian before the occupants quickly exited the car and jumped into the other participating vehicle and sped off. Fortunately, the pedestrian was not seriously injured. The accident underscored the issue of uninsured motorist coverage to injured parties if not the prevalence of street racing that endangers residents in the Boston community.
Every state has its roadways and intersections where traffic accidents seem to be and are in fact higher than at other locations within the state. In Massachusetts, there are a select group of cities and towns where car accidents occur more frequently than in others. One of these is Brockton where 17 of the most dangerous intersections in the state presently exist to give motorists and pedestrians pause when traveling to or walking on or about these hazardous roads.