Any premature death is a tragedy but a fatality in a car accident can be especially traumatic since it occurs so suddenly and by the fault of another party. A recent fatal car accident in Hyannis that left a family emotionally devastated is one example.
On a recent bright Fall day in Worcester, a 28-year old man was attempting to cross Franklin and Grafton Streets when he was struck by a motorist driving a Toyota Sienna south on Grafton while coming from Washington Square. The only reports available were that the young man was stable but with serious injuries. There was no explanation as to why the motorist failed to see the man who was apparently lawfully crossing the intersection. As it turns out, a Worcester pedestrian accident is unfortunately not uncommon for this central Massachusetts city.
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%.