Uber is one of two highly recognized ridesharing or ride-hailing services that is ubiquitous in most cities and larger towns throughout the U.S. and abroad. Each state requires these services to maintain a one-million-dollar liability policy in the event of an accident where the Uber or Lyft app is activated, and a passenger is on-board. These policies provide substantial coverage for the drivers if they cause an accident or they or their passengers are injured while being transported. But what if a third party asserts that the Uber passenger was at least partially at fault for their injuries? Would Uber insurance cover the passenger?
A tragic rollover accident occurred in early June that took the life of a 16-year old who had just completed his junior year in high school. The young driver had been traveling on I-93 in Andover, Massachusetts, around 5:00 p.m. when his 2018 Mitsubishi SUV rolled over and crashed into a signpost. He later succumbed to his injuries.
Crosswalks are designed to protect pedestrians as they cross intersections or anywhere else on a roadway where they are painted by alerting motorists to their presence. By Massachusetts law, a motorist must stop when a pedestrian is in a crosswalk or if the pedestrian is within 10 feet of the halfway point in the road. However, one impatient and allegedly intoxicated motorist in early May of this year felt that 3 pedestrians in a crosswalk at Columbus and Clarendon in the South End of Boston around midnight were mere annoyances. After honking at the 3 people who were crossing, he decided to just plow through and struck them.
Truck accidents are often synonymous with wrongful death claims because of the severity of the injuries and damage these vehicles can cause in a collision. Tractor-trailers and other large commercial vehicles can weigh 80,000 pounds or more with loads compared to the 5,000 pounds of the average passenger vehicles. In a collision with one of these massive vehicles, drivers and passengers in ordinary cars are at a serious disadvantage. Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration show that 73% of those killed in truck accidents are the drivers and passengers of the smaller vehicle.
In early May of this year, a roll-over accident on I-495 in Milford, Massachusetts, resulted in the driver and a female passenger sustaining serious injuries. Both were rushed to Milford Regional Medical. A second passenger was treated for minor injuries and released. The rollover caused the seriously injured passenger to be ejected from the car but it was unclear if she or any of the passengers were wearing seat belts. There were no other vehicles involved, and police reports did not indicate how or why the driver lost control or if alcohol or drugs were involved.
Dirtbikes are recreational vehicles for trail riding or on private roads. Most are not street legal, meaning they are not registered and have not met certain standards for safe riding on public roadways. Despite their illegality, riders in Springfield, Massachusetts, and in other communities have taken to the city streets and are creating havoc with motorists and pedestrians. Springfield’s mayor apparently had had enough of these incidents between motorists and dirtbike rider.
The newest reports on pedestrian accidents from the Governor’s Highway Safety Association are a little misleading at first glance. Because of increased safety measures, such as traffic calming, installation of bike lanes, placing flashing lights on crosswalks, constructing safety islands, and decreasing speeds in urban areas, 23 states have reported a decline in pedestrian accidents and fatalities since 2017. There were 6 states that had double-digit declines and 3 had consecutive years of decreased pedestrian incidents. Our sister state, New Hampshire, is apparently the safest state for pedestrians having reported just a single fatality in 2018 representing an astounding 80% drop in pedestrian fatalities.
UPS recently announced that it was honoring 25 of its Massachusetts drivers for having at least 25-years of driving without an accident. The honor means that their names will be inscribed in the company’s Circle of Honor that lists the names of its drivers for similar safe driving records worldwide. Massachusetts has 193 drivers in this UPS hall of fame with one driver boasting 39-years of service without an accident. This is remarkable given the long hours many drivers are on the road, and in all kinds of weather and traffic conditions. To date, UPS has around 2,310 drivers on Massachusetts roads.
Motorcycle riders came together recently in Medford to promote April as Motorcycle Safety Awareness Month. Medford Mayor Stephanie Burke met with safety advocates, riders, and motorcycle policemen in a Motorcycle Safety Proclamation ceremony outside City Hall to emphasize that the warmer weather will be bringing out more riders to the streets and that motorists need to be aware of their presence. Medford has 806 registered riders while the state has a reported 165,000 registered bikes.
Route 24 is a 40-mile stretch of highway in eastern Massachusetts that runs north-south between Randolph and Fall River. Because of the high incidence of collisions and fatal accidents on this roadway, it has been dubbed one of the deadliest highways in the state. Some travelers call it the “Death Highway.” One person who was interviewed by a news reporter after a MassDot report was released regarding the dangers of Route 24, compared the roadway to the German Autobahn where there are no speed limits, or to Nascar, the racing forum. He said he feared that any time he was on that roadway that it might be his last. He also noted that people texting and driving was a common sight as were cars greatly exceeding the speed limit. Others interviewed wondered why highway patrol cars were seldom seen or not stopping more speeders.