Headlights and Motor Vehicle Accidents in Massachusetts

All Massachusetts drivers know that they are required to use headlights, beginning at dusk and ending at dawn.  Many other states have more restrictive laws.  Beacon Hill lawmakers are considering a bill to require that headlights be on at all times that “persons or vehicles on the roadway are not clearly discernible at a distance of 500 feet” and whenever windshield wipers are required.  This bill has been introduced many times, however, becomes closer and closer to being a law each session.

Many other states require that lights be on when windshield wipers are on, noted David Linsky, a Natick representative, the author of the bill.

Lights on for Safety in Massachusetts

The lawmakers are following the general trend to make roads safer by having lights on more of the time.  In Canada, for example, headlights are required to be on all the time.  It increases visibility and reduces motor vehicle accidents.  The American Automobile Association of Southern New England (AAA) has endorsed this proposed law.

While other motor vehicle associations oppose the lights on all the time, most organizations devoted to safety are in favor on increased motor vehicle light usage.

Some experts claim that a “lights on all the time” policy aggravates other drivers and masks bicycles and pedestrians that don’t have lights.

High Beams Verses Low Beams

As most drivers know, high beams are not useful in foggy or some rainy situations because they reflect off the water particles and back at the driver.  Low beams, however, aim down and at the road, and are both helpful at night and visible to other drivers.

With respect to rear lights, red rear lights are absolutely more visible than no rear lights.

Lights A Factor in Car Accident Litigation

Many times the fact that a driver neglected to turn on his or her lights is a factor in a motor vehicle accident claim or lawsuit.  This happens in collisions between vehicles, and between vehicles and bikes or pedestrians.

Third-party, or independent unbiased witnesses, often make the case for an injured party.  In a case where our client was struck by another vehicle, she informed the police officer that since was turning left and into a parking lot, it was her fault.  However, and independent witness informed the police that the other driver had no lights on, and was exceeding the speed limit. It turned out after investigation encouraged by the witness, the negligent driver was also driving under the influence.

If you are involved in a motor vehicle collision – day or night – and lights could be a factor, talk to witnesses, take photographs, and get any information you can.  This can be critical later on when the negligent driver’s insurance company wants to find you at fault for not seeing the other driver.

This column does not generally take a position on pending legislation, however, we will aggressively pursue any angle of negligence when our clients are the victims of motor vehicle negligence.

Hire an Experienced Car Accident Lawyer

If you or a loved one has been involved in a motor vehicle accident, truck accident, bike accident or pedestrian accident, call an attorney with 29 years of personal injury experience in the Massachusetts Courts.

Attorney Neil Burns has represented victims of motor vehicle accidents successfully since his first trial in 1985.

Call for a free consultation:  617-227-7423

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