We have been practicing law in Boston and throughout Massachusetts since 1985. I have represented clients in District Courts, Superior Courts, the Appeals Court, Housing Court, Probate Courts, Federal Bankruptcy Court and the Federal District Court.
Pedestrian accidents in Massachusetts can cause serious and debilitating injuries. You have no protection against the force of a 5000-pound passenger vehicle for even the slightest contact can throw you to the pavement and cause broken bones or serious head trauma. Pedestrian accidents are also on the increase nationwide with fatalities up by 11% in 2016 over 2015, the largest single year increase ever recorded. In our state, 23% of fatal traffic accidents involve pedestrians.
In mid-October, New England Patriots defensive end and linebacker Harvey Langi and his wife were injured when their vehicle was rear-ended while stopped for a traffic light, in Foxboro, Massachusetts. Langi’s wife suffered broken ribs and fractures to both her hips. Langi reportedly sustained neck, back and head injuries in the collision. Langi was placed on the non-football injury list and his return to the team this season is questionable. He is a non-drafted rookie having played football at the University of Utah before beginning his two-year mission for the Church of Latter Day Saints. He had resumed his college career at BYU before being picked up by the Patriots for the 2017 season. He has only played one game thus far in his NFL career.
Motorists in Massachusetts know that it is mandatory to wear a seat belt, but most also know that a police officer is not permitted to pull them over for not wearing one unless they commit some other traffic offense such as speeding, making an unsafe lane change or failing to stop at red traffic signal. This means that the mandatory seat belt law is only a secondary offense and our drivers have seized on that to rank 48th in the nation in seat belt use with a state-wide usage rate of 78%. The national average for seat belt usage is around 90%. From 2015 to 2016, car accident fatalities in our state soared by 13%. and some officials have reported that seat belt usage has dropped over this time to as low as 74%.
Just when you thought it was safe to go outside, here come the drones! Drones are not just for the U.S. military to target foreign terrorists anymore. They are being tested for use by Amazon to deliver packages, by real estate agents to take aerial photos of homes, by search and rescue crews to quickly and more extensively look for lost individuals, for media coverage, and by others to enable them to view otherwise inaccessible areas for safety or other reasons. But these are also the newest toys in town, especially for amateur aviators, and can be purchased by nearly anyone from $50 to thousands of dollars for more sophisticated users. Drones have the ability to fly at altitudes well over 400 feet and can approach speeds of 140 miles per hour.
In previous blogs on my website, we have discussed the mind-boggling fact that Massachusetts drivers rank among the worst users of seat belts! As of 2017, we moved to 45th in the nation from a low of 48th, but our usage dropped. Just last year, our drivers were restrained an average of 78.2% of the time while driving. Current statistics have our drivers buckling up at only 74 %. Our sister state, New Hampshire, is dead last at just over 70%.