Storms can be dangerous for driving and motorists are often warned to either be especially cautious or to avoid driving at all in severe weather. Most accidents in a storm occur because of visibility problems, travelling too fast for conditions or losing control. For an unfortunate Plympton man, a storm cost him his life when a large tree fell and crushed his truck on his way home.
It seems that most cities and towns of significant size have problem streets or intersections where more accidents occur than in other parts of the community. In Peabody, Massachusetts, car accidents have been occurring at a level that has concerned city officials at the intersection of Wilson Square and Tremont Street. In a 4-year stretch between 2012 and 2016, 100 accidents occurred in Wilson Square alone. A traffic study conducted by WorldTech found that cars traveling through this intersection were prone to accidents on Central Street. About 27,000 cars can be expected on Central Street each day!
ATVs are a class of motor vehicles designed principally for off-road use by farmers and other types of businesses as well as for racing and recreational purposes. Some can travel up to 65 miles per hour. Although they can be fun to operate, there are about 700 fatalities per year attributable to ATV use and 135,000 injuries with about one-third of these involving individuals 16 years of age or younger.
Every winter we hear about tragic fires in residences, apartment buildings or other locations set by careless adults or children who were playing with lighters or matches left by parents. Some of these fires are the result of Christmas lights that got too hot or from a heater left next to flammable material. But many are set by children who were too young to appreciate the seriousness of what they were doing.
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.
In September 2017, a horrific accident in Methuen took the life of an 11-year old girl when she was struck and killed by a hit-and-run driver while crossing at an intersection. The girl’s stepfather who was with her at the time had looked before crossing but the vehicle failed to stop and hit the young girl who was later pronounced dead at the hospital. Fortunately, diligent efforts by police who distributed news of the tragedy to the community led to the arrest of a 22-year old Lawrence man within 48-hours after someone recognized the vehicle from photos and videos that police made available. Apparently, cameras either overhanging or adjacent to the intersection, recorded the event.
Truck accidents are not uncommon since there are over 3 million truck drivers in the US and approximately 15.5 million trucks in operation. Statistics indicate there are about 500,000 accidents yearly involving 13trucks with 5,000 fatalities.
Boston, like most urban areas, is crammed with pedestrians, bicyclists, motorcycles, trucks, scooters and any other type of motor vehicle. But when cyclists are on urban roads, they have to deal with other vehicles, especially trucks, whose size and inflexibility is the direct opposite of bicycles. Because of the height at which a driver sits in his or her cab, a bicyclist will seem nearly invisible to the truck driver. And when a collision does occur, the consequences can be catastrophic.
Prescription drugs are a major industry in our country, especially pain medication or opioids such as Vicodin, Percocet or Oxycontin. Doctors prescribe these and other medications regularly, and frequently. However, there may be insufficient verbal warnings by the doctor or pharmacist, or written warnings on the label that advises the user that it causes drowsiness or dizziness or should not be taken if operating a motor vehicle.
Massachusetts is entering a new era in terms of legalized marijuana. A number of states have legalized marijuana use for medical purposes and now Massachusetts, Nevada, Maine and California will join Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Arizona, Alaska and Maine in legalizing it for recreational use.
One of the controversies over its legalization is how it affects driving behavior. While marijuana use may be legal in Massachusetts, it is not legal to drive while impaired or under the influence of a drug (OUI). All states have laws making it unlawful to drive under the influence of alcohol or to engage in drugged driving. A blood or urine sample can detect the presence of certain drugs if specifically tested for that drug. Also, police officers trained in drug recognition can detect symptoms of drug use in drivers that can provide probable cause to test the motorists for the presence of drugs in their blood system.