Pedestrian crosswalks are designed to offer protection to persons crossing the street. At many crosswalks there are traffic signals at the intersection. If there is no traffic signal, motorists are required to stop when the pedestrian enters the crosswalk or when the person is at least 10 feet from the midpoint of the crosswalk.
Go to most large urban areas and you will see various types of motor vehicles on the city streets, including passenger cars, motorcycles, trucks of all sizes, and scooters. Scooters, which can include mopeds, are becoming an increasingly popular mode of transportation for city dwellers and students. They are far less expensive than cars, are quick, easy to park, and can easily maneuver in and around traffic. However, these small vehicles pose significant risks to persons who ride them.
The good news is that the number of traffic fatalities in the U.S. declined in 2017 after two years of increases. The bad news is that the number of fatalities involving tractor trailers rose 8% in 2017 over the previous year, according to the Department of Transportation. The statistics for 2018 will not be published for several months.
Wearing contact lenses or eyeglasses is second nature for those of us who have had poor eyesight for years. If your driver’s license requires you to wear corrective lenses, glasses or contacts, then it is foolish to think that you can drive even a short distance without them without endangering yourself or others.
There was finally good news regarding our state’s woeful rate of seat belt usage. Massachusetts’ drivers jumped from a seat belt usage of 73.7 % in 2017 to 81.6 % this year, the biggest leap ever recorded in one year. Unfortunately, we still lag far behind the national average of 90.1%.
Fatigue is a consistent factor in many road accidents. There are few of us who drive who can say that we have never felt so tired while driving that we considered pulling off to the side of the road to rest or turned the radio volume up to ward off sleep. Fatigue is often a problem for over the road truckers who log many hours in their cabs and are under pressure to keep to tight schedules.
Hit-and-run accidents are among the more repugnant acts that a responsible motorist can do. Shirking or evading responsibility is abhorrent, especially if someone has been physically injured as a result. To underscore this, an August, 2018 hit-and-run accident involving a Dorchester man left a pedestrian critically injured at Dorchester Avenue. The motorist fled the scene; fortunately, transit police witnessed the accident and gave chase. At the intersection of Adams and Beaumont, the culprit’s vehicle smashed into 3 parked vehicles and the man fled on foot, allegedly discarding a weapon as police gave chase. He was soon apprehended.
Tragedy recently struck this past July when a 2-year old was struck and killed in a car accident as a result of an unfortunate set of circumstances at the intersection of L Street and E 6th Street in Southie, Boston. The toddler was with a woman who was pushing a stroller on L Street with another toddler when a Prius and van somehow collided, forcing one of the vehicles onto the sidewalk and to strike the child. The woman was uninjured and the other toddler suffered non-life-threatening injuries. Because the accident occurred on a day and time when street cleaning was in effect, the street was free of parked cars that normally fill up that side of the street. Consequently, there was nothing to prevent the errant vehicle from hopping the sidewalk.
Kids’ parties are a part of growing up. Friends made at pre-school, kindergarten, or grade school often get together for birthday parties where food, games, and party favors are handed out. One common feature at kids’ parties are bounce houses, inflatable structures akin to trampolines for kids to literally bounce up and down on, inside the “house”, though at much lower heights than true trampolines.
Intersections are the main focus of car accidents, probably because so many vehicles congregate in one area to turn right or left or straight and where traffic lights or stop signs are often present. This meeting of traffic, traffic signs and lights and turning lanes present ample opportunities for accidents, especially in urban areas like Leominster.