When the implications of the pandemic became all too clear and states and municipalities began to issue stay-at-home orders, many businesses closed or sent their employees home to work remotely. The impact on Massachusetts roads and highways became evident with the commensurate decrease in traffic. Anyone who drove on a major highway during rush hour could not help but notice that traffic volume was down considerably.
In an effort to address the increasing incidents and fatalities at railroad crossings in five states, the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) announced that $40 million in grants were to be awarded to the states of Washington, California, New York, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts. An eligibility factor was that the commuter authority in that state must have experienced at least one accident at a railway-highway crossing that was investigated and reported on by the National Transportation Safety Board between January 1, 2008, and December 31, 2018.
With the pandemic having shuttered many businesses and people being required to adhere to masking and social distancing rules, jury trials had been put on pause for both criminal and civil matters. Reports are that some 2,925 scheduled jury trials in Massachusetts since March 2020 have been put on hold. As any trial attorney can attest to, a significant delay in a trial can seriously jeopardize the rights of criminal and civil litigants. However, the state is now preparing to resume jury trials but with caution and significant safeguards in place.
In early January 2021, the Massachusetts Fire Marshall issued an astonishing statement that no children perished in a fire in our state during 2020. This is the first time since records on fire-related fatalities have been kept that this has occurred. This extends to records maintained since the 1940s.
It is no secret to people who regularly commute to work or who have continued to do so despite the pandemic that has resulted in so many retail and other businesses being shut down, including here in Massachusetts, that traffic volume on our highways has been significantly reduced. A substantial number of employers have allowed and now encourage its employees to work remotely. So, given the decrease in traffic volume over the past year, have insurers given its policy holders a break in their premiums and, if so, will they continue to do so?