Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

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Bicyclist at red light

New legislation will protect cyclists, pedestrians and others outside motor vehicles as vulnerable road users in Massachusetts.

In a late victory for cyclists and pedestrians, Gov. Charlie Baker signed a critical road safety bill into law during his final days in office. While encouraging safety, the legislation may also position Massachusetts as a leader on truck safety and protecting vulnerable road users.

Gov. Baker – now the former governor – signed An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities on Monday (January 2, 2023).

Supporters said the legislation represents 10 years of collaboration. Most recently, the Legislature sent Gov. Baker the legislation in September, but rejected his amendments.

Lawmakers sent Baker the latest version on December 27th. Then, MassBike announced the new law on Twitter this week, thanking its members and the Massachusetts Vision Zero Coalition for their support.

Vulnerable Users and a Safe Passing Distance

Previously, Massachusetts only protected cyclists as vulnerable road users. State law was silent on how much room drivers should leave as a “safe passing distance,” according to one state senator’s blog.

The new legislation defines “vulnerable users” as:

  • Pedestrians and cyclists.
  • Individuals using wheelchairs and personal mobility devices.
  • Those traveling on skateboards, scooters, roller skates, tricycles and handcycles.
  • Riders of motorized bicycles and scooters.
  • Emergency responders and workers engaged in road and utility projects.
  • The legislation has a broad reach, also protecting individuals traveling on horses, horse-drawn carriages and farming tractors.

The legislation establishes a new safe passing distance of “not less than 4 feet.” Drivers must also use a “reasonable and proper speed,” when passing vulnerable road users.

The Legislature had initially sought a safe passing distance of “not less than 3 feet,” when drivers travel 30 mph or at lower speeds. At higher speeds, drivers would have to leave more room: an extra foot of clearance for every 10 mph over 30 mph.

The governor responded this language presented “enforcement and messaging challenges,” and would undermine the goal of passing a “clearly understood and enforceable standard,” according to the Boston Herald.

Going forward, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation will post and maintain signage about the new passing requirements on public ways.

At least 35 states have already passed laws which define a “safe passing distance” of at least 3 feet,” according to the League of American Bicyclists’ web page, which was last updated in Sept. 2022. What’s notable is several states do not even allow drivers to pass cyclists traveling in the same direction, unless they fully change lanes.

Massachusetts was definitely behind on these laws. The League notes Wisconsin was the first state to adopt a safe passing law – back in 1973. But that is history. Joining New Jersey and Pennsylvania, Massachusetts is now one one of the few states which require 4 feet of clearance when drivers pass cyclists.

Expect to hear more about safe passing distances and vulnerable road users. In October 2022, the U.S. Department of Transportation released new guidelines to help states develop Vulnerable Road User Safety Assessments.

Truck Safety Equipment

The legislation sets new equipment requirements for large trucks which are owned or contracted by the state. This equipment includes lateral sideguards, convex and other mirrors and backup cameras. The goal is to protect cyclists and pedestrians from injuries.

This is a major headline because of all the work done here in Massachusetts to promote safety. Lawmakers have made several attempts at passing a statewide truck safety law.

Truck safety has been the subject of much discussion since 2014, when the Boston City Council passed its truck sideguard ordinance – the first in the nation.

The vote came after a series of truck crashes fatally injured cyclists in the city. Here at Breakstone, White & Gluck, our personal injury attorneys have represented victims and families after some of these devastating crashes.

Under the ordinance passed in 2014, the City of Boston requires large city-owned and contracted trucks to use sideguards, which protect underneath a truck near the wheels, mirrors and other safety equipment.

A few local communities – Cambridge, Somerville and Newton – followed Boston’s lead and implemented similar regulations.

Now, after several attempts at a statewide law, Massachusetts has passed similar legislation.

This will take effect in phases. Large vehicles owned or leased by the state of Massachusetts must be equipped in 2023. Large vehicles operated under state contracts have until 2025.

Small List of Cities with Truck Safety Ordinances

There are federal laws on truck safety (though we are not going to dive into this topic).

And we found research showing that other U.S. cities have passed or implemented truck sideguard ordinances in recent years. But not many.

In October 2022, the U.S. DOT’s Volpe Center reported fewer than 20 cities have implemented or passed truck sideguard policies, including those we mentioned in the Boston area. The Volpe Center, which operates locally in Cambridge, did not mention any other state laws on its web page.

Before we move on, we want to say this is really important legislation for Massachusetts cyclists in particular. In our law practice and through our Project KidSafe bike helmet donations, we have heard many cyclists say how much they worry, stress and fear large trucks. We hope cyclists start to see more trucks with the new safety equipment soon (while keeping a good distance away for safety).

Setting Speed Limits on State Highways in Local Communities

Thanks to the cities of Boston, Cambridge and Somerville, we have learned more about the impact of speed in pedestrian accidents over the past decade. The communities have all committed to developing Vision Zero plans, with a goal of preventing traffic fatalities and severe injuries.

As part of this work, the communities have focused on reducing speed-related accidents. Speed is involved in more than one-third of all fatal crashes, according to the Vision Zero Network.

Even when a driver hits a pedestrian, traveling at a slower speed can reduce the chance of a fatal encounter:

  • When a car travels at 20 mph and hits a pedestrian, there is an 8 percent likelihood of death.
  • Traveling at 30 mph, a driver who hits a pedestrian has a 20 percent likelihood of causing a fatal pedestrian injury.
  • At 40 mph, drivers have a 46 percent likelihood of causing a fatal pedestrian crash.

Source: Vision Zero Network, Safety Over Speed

Boston has worked to lower speed limits as part of its Vision Zero campaign. One of the city’s first goals was to lower speed limits from 30 mph to 25 mph on certain roads.

Massachusetts state lawmakers made this possible by passing the Municipal Modernization Act in 2016.

Pedestrian crossing sign

Massachusetts communities can now petition to lower speed limits on state highways crossing through their borders.

Under the Municipal Modernization Act, cities and towns are allowed to “opt in” and lower the default speed limit from 30 mph to 25 mph on thickly settled roads or in business districts. Communities can opt in with a local vote, such as from a City Council. But up until this week, Massachusetts laws only allowed communities to lower speeds on local roads, not state highways passing through a city or town.

Now, cities and towns can take the next step and petition to modify speed limits on state highways within their borders. The state will have 90 days to approve or deny a local petition.

Here, the Legislature had wanted to give local communities more authority. Gov. Baker sought to preserve the state’s authority over its roads and this was the compromise.

Traffic Crash Reporting

The legislation also calls for the implementation of a statewide data collection strategy for crashes involving vulnerable road users.

New Requirement for Rear-Bike Lights

When riding at night, Massachusetts cyclists will now have to use a rear red light on the back of their bike.

About Breakstone, White & Gluck – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

With 125+ years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in representing those seriously injured by negligent driving in car accidents, bicycle accidents and truck crashes. We are dedicated to helping our clients with all the difficulties they face after an unexpected accident.

Our attorneys represent victims and families in the Boston area and across Massachusetts.

If you have been injured, please feel free to contact Breakstone, White & Gluck. Ask to speak with one of our attorneys for a free legal consultation. We will review the facts of what happened and help you determine if you may have the right to bring a claim for your injuries, medical bills, lost wages and recovery.

For a free legal consultation, contact 800-379-1244 or use our contact form.

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2023 Roadmap to Safety

Massachusetts is one of 9 states ranked in the “danger zone” in the 2023 Roadmap to Safety report. The state has not passed all the group’s traffic safety recommendations.

In a new report, Massachusetts has earned good marks for passing distracted driving laws that promote safety and reduce the risk of car accidents and injuries. Yet we still finished among nine states in the danger zone for not implementing other traffic safety laws.

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety released its 2023 Roadmap to Safety report in early December, noting the U.S. had recorded nearly 43,000 traffic fatalities in 2021. The breakdown is 115 lives lost each day in U.S. car accidents and crashes. The group added preliminary traffic figures for 2022 remained “egregiously high.”

Here in Massachusetts, traffic crashes have claimed 3,611 lives over a decade. Last year, 413 people died on the roads.

In response to the data, the group has called for states to pass more highway laws and support new driving technologies.

The report looked at these areas:

  • Seat belt laws
  • Child passenger safety seats
  • Teen driving
  • Impaired driving
  • Distracted driving
  • Automated enforcement to curb speeding

Massachusetts joined Michigan, Florida, Missouri, Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wyoming and Montana in the overall danger zone ranking. Just 5 states and Washington D.C. received good ratings: Louisiana, Maryland, Oregon, Rhode Island and Washington State.

Aside from Massachusetts and Rhode Island, the rest of the New England states finished in the caution zone for their progress passing the recommended laws.

Where Do Massachusetts Highway Laws Fall Short?

Massachusetts laws on seat belts, child passenger safety, teen driving and impaired driving fell short of the group’s recommendations.

Child Passenger Safety Seats

Child safety seats are one of the most critical tools for protecting children. This is one of the first lessons a parent learns.

The American Academy for Pediatrics reports infants and toddlers are at high risk for head and spine injuries in motor vehicle crashes. When properly used, child safety seats reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and 54 percent for toddlers, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Massachusetts joined 39 states and Washington D.C. in the danger zone on child passenger safety seats. Like Massachusetts, many states have passed at least one child safety seat law, but not all the recommendations.

In Massachusetts, we have a booster seat law for children until their 8th birthday or when they grow 57 inches tall.

As for rear-facing car seats, the state recommends keeping children in these until age 2. But this is not specifically required under Massachusetts law, as it is in Rhode Island, 17 other states and Washington D.C. Nationwide, the report did show movement on rear-facing car seat laws until age 2, noting Hawaii and Maryland just passed these in 2022.

Just one state – Louisiana – had passed the group’s recommended law requiring children to sit in the back seat until age 12. However, Louisiana does not have a booster seat law (though it has a law requiring rear-facing car seats until age 2).

Teen Driving

As for teen driving, Massachusetts has a junior operator law, which restricts cell phone use and places special conditions on drivers ages 16 ½ to 18 to help them develop and build experience.

But the state lost points for allowing drivers to apply for learner permits at age 16 and their driver’s license at 16 ½. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recommend drivers wait until they are 17 and calls for them to have twice as many training hours as required under Massachusetts law.

Ignition Interlocks

Massachusetts received credit for having an open container law. Most states have these laws (39 states and the District of Columbia).

But Massachusetts was in the caution zone for impaired driving laws due to our ignition interlock law.

Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety supports all-offender ignition interlock laws, which require all drivers charged with operating under the influence to install ignition interlocks in their vehicles.

Thirty four states and D.C. have optimal drunk driving laws requiring interlocks for all offenders.

Massachusetts does not have an all-offender drunk driving law. In October 2005, the state passed “Melanie’s Law,” with a goal of reducing drunk driving injury crashes. Melanie’s Law increased the penalties for operating under the influence in Massachusetts and included a provision that required drivers charged with a second offense of drunk driving to equip their vehicles with ignition interlocks.

While safety groups have long pushed for an all-offender law, there has never been enough support to pass the Legislature and governor.

The closest Massachusetts came was a few years ago, when state lawmakers who supported the measure tucked an ignition interlock amendment in the fiscal year 2021 state budget.

This required all drivers who had a .15 bac level to use ignition interlocks, regardless of how many offenses they had. But this is nearly twice the state’s legal limit of .08 bac.

Seat Belts

Massachusetts was one of nine states without strong enough seat belt laws. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recommend states pass primary seat belt enforcement laws.

Massachusetts only has a secondary enforcement seat belt law, meaning police can only stop someone for failure to wear a seat belt if they stop the vehicle on suspicion of another offense.

Massachusetts residents have long debated seat belts. Getting a secondary enforcement law passed has taken a great deal of time, with the state Legislature passing the first seat belt law back in 1985, only to have voters repeal this at the ballot box. The state finally passed a secondary seat belt law in 1994.

Automated Speed Enforcement

Massachusetts and 26 other states are behind the recommendations for automated enforcement laws.  Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety recommends states have automated enforcement to address the rise in speeding and car accidents. Speeding was involved in 27 percent of all traffic fatalities in 2021, a 5 percent increase from 2020.

At this point, roughly 23 states and Washington D.C. permit automated enforcement by law while 19 have automated enforcement in use.

Massachusetts Earns Good Marks for Distracted Driving Laws

Massachusetts was credited for passing an all-rider motorcycle helmet law, a booster seat law and banning open containers in vehicles.

Distracted Driving

We are going to take a minute to write about Massachusetts’ distracted driving laws. The state received good marks for having a junior operator law that restricts all cell phone use for teen drivers and for having a texting-while-driving ban that applies to all ages.

Massachusetts has banned texting while driving for all drivers since 2010, when the Massachusetts Safe Driving Law was passed. Then in 2019, Massachusetts joined other states, passing a more comprehensive hands-free driving law. We were the last New England state to do so.

With this law, police gained new authority to stop drivers who use cell phones as a primary offense. And before, drivers could pick up a mobile electronic device to make calls, but not text. There was some confusion and room to get away with cell phone use. Now, the message is clear in Massachusetts: drivers have to buy a mount and turn on voice activation if they want to talk or text.

Studying the Next Distraction For Drivers

Or maybe this is not so clear. What about drivers who are still engaging in very highly distracted activities, such as vlogging or livestreaming to social media? Their phones are mounted as Massachusetts law requires.

The Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety have taken note and plan to review state laws on “distracted viewing activities” for a future report.

Just four states specifically ban recording and broadcasting video as part of their hands-free driving law, according to a Massachusetts state lawmaker who filed legislation here following a 2021 crash killing a Northampton cyclist. The lawmaker was seeking an amendment to the Massachusetts hands-free driving law.

Police reported the 24-year-old female driver had been distracted by a 53-second call with a friend on Facetime. The woman has since pleaded guilty to a charge of motor vehicle homicide by negligent operation, receiving a one-year suspended jail sentence, with three years of probation and a 15-year loss of her driver’s license (Source: WWLP).

Update on Massachusetts Legislation to Protect Cyclists and Pedestrians

We also want to share an update on legislation we wrote about in September, An Act to Reduce Traffic Fatalities. 

The Massachusetts House and Senate has reportedly rejected Gov. Charlie Baker’s response to their proposed legislation. Many are still watching because this was important legislation that in part, would have defined pedestrians, cyclists and others as “vulnerable road users” and established a statewide requirement for trucks to be equipped with sideguards, convex mirrors and other equipment. We will be watching this one too.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Attorneys

Breakstone, White & Gluck is a Boston personal injury law firm with more than 125 years combined experience.

If you have been injured by another driver’s negligence, learn more about our firm and your legal rights for seeking compensation for your recovery. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1299 or 617-723-7676 or use your contact form.

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Holiday gathering with alcohol

Make a commitment not to drink and drive this holiday season. Plan your safe way home before you head out.

Make a Holiday Safety Plan

It’s the holiday season, a time to enjoy family and friends. But the mood quickly turns somber when you make the wrong decision about alcohol. Commit to use good judgment and avoid causing drunk driving injuries.

If you drink, consume alcohol responsibly. As personal injury lawyers, we have seen how drunk driving changes lives forever.

Many crashes are fatal. In 2020, approximately 32 people died in drunk driving crashes each day in the U.S. and the period between Thanksgiving and New Year’s saw a high number of crashes (Source: NHTSA).

Here in Massachusetts, drivers can also expect to face criminal and financial consequences, as can restaurants and other establishments which serve underage or intoxicated drivers. Massachusetts law recognizes that dram shops – businesses and other organizations – have legal responsibilities to serve alcohol responsibly and can be held liable by victims of drunk driving crashes. Homeowners can also face criminal charges and liability under social host laws.

When you head out, remember a few critical points:

  • First, remember to drink responsibly to protect yourself and others on the roads.
  • Use good judgment. You do not have to be legally drunk to cause an injury and be held liable. Alcohol has different effects on each of us, especially when you factor in fatigue or medications.
  • Re-read prescription labels. Follow warnings not to consume alcohol and drive while taking prescription medication.
  • Plan your transportation home before you go out. Remember Uber and Lyft can help.

Consider the Legal Limit Just One Measure of Unsafe Driving

In Massachusetts, drivers must be 21 years old to legally consume alcohol. Drivers of age can be criminally charged for operating under the influence of alcohol if they have a .08 or greater blood alcohol content. For commercial drivers, the legal limit is .04.

Massachusetts, 48 other states and Washington D.C. have all set the legal limit at .08 for most drivers.

But the long discussion about the legal limit continues. In 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) recommended all states lower the legal limit to .05. Utah went onto pass a drunk driving law, which lowered the legal limit in 2017. This new law took effect in 2018.

In 2020, approximately 32 people died in drunk driving crashes each day in the U.S., the NHTSA reports.

The law has contributed to safer roads. In early 2022, the NHTSA reported Utah’s fatal crash rate had declined 19.8 percent between 2016 and 2019.

Utah residents are also more aware of their responsibility not to drink and drive. A 2018 survey found 27 percent of drinkers and 13 percent of non-drinkers were aware of the law, which was about to take effect. In 2019, 22 percent of the drinkers reported they had changed their approach. Most said they were now planning transportation when they drank outside their home.

Learn the Impacts of Alcohol

The NHTSA has published an informative chart on how alcohol can impair your driving, even if you are not legally drunk.

This chart is hard to ignore as we start the holiday season. The NHTSA reports alcohol can impact us at .02 BAC, causing a decline in visual functions and one’s ability to manage two tasks at once. And driving definitely requires multi-tasking – not just mirrors, pedals and brakes, but watching for pedestrians, cyclists and other conditions.

At .08 BAC, drivers can suffer a wide range of symptoms, including poor muscle coordination, reduced concentration, short-term memory loss and impaired perception. It becomes harder for drivers to control their speed and recognize and respond to dangerous conditions.

The effects are even more severe at higher BAC levels. In that state, drivers may not even be aware of their surroundings, raising their risk of running red lights or causing wrong-way crashes.

Fatal crashes in Massachusetts rose by 33 percent

Drunk driving contributes as fatal crashes are on the rise across the United States. In Massachusetts, the number of fatal crashes has risen 33 percent in 2022, based on the NHTSA’s first quarter report.

Massachusetts has seen devastating cases of drunk driving crashes in recent years, including the case of an employee who left a holiday work party at a private home in Pembroke intoxicated. The employee was accused of driving through a red light, hitting a car and killing a 13-year-old girl from Plymouth. He was later criminally charged.

Grieving, the girl’s family also filed a civil lawsuit in Plymouth Superior Court seeking unspecified damages from the driver and the two individuals who owned the home, according to The Boston Globe.

Consult a Lawyer After a Car Accident

If you are injured in a car accident, you may not be able to tell if the driver has been drinking or was operating negligently in another way.

Once you receive medical attention, it is vital to contact an experienced car accident lawyer who can advise you, take steps to protect your rights and launch an immediate investigation.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we specialize in representing clients in personal injury cases in Boston and across Massachusetts. As part of our practice, our attorneys represent clients who have been injured in car crashes, including in cases involving drunk driving and liquor liability.

We wish you a safe holiday season. We hope you are never injured, but if you are, it is important to learn your legal rights.

For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck and review the facts of what happened with one of our attorneys. Call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

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On Monday, a 53-year-old man drove his SUV over a curb and smashed into an Apple store at the Derby Street Shops in Hingham, where it lodged in the back wall of the shop. One man was killed, and at least 18 more people were injured.

The driver, Bradley Rein, claims his foot got stuck on the accelerator, and that he tried jamming his brakes with his left foot to stop the vehicle. Police confirm that he was not under the influence of drugs or alcohol, and Rein turned his phone over willingly to law enforcement. The investigation is still ongoing, but at this moment, it appears to have been a bizarre – though deadly – accident.

If you are wondering “How on Earth can this happen?” you’re not alone. As a firm that has represented folks in multiple cases involving out-of-control vehicles and building strikes (sometimes called “car incursions”), we know that cases like these are more common than you might think, and that the injuries people suffer are often devastating, if not deadly. For example:

  • Our client was struck by an out of control vehicle which crashed through a storefront in a shopping plaza and crushed her against a brick wall. The claim against the driver of the vehicle who hit the gas, instead of the brakes, was resolved for $1.2 million on the eve of trial.
  • Our client was crushed to death by an out-of-control car driven by elderly woman whose foot got stuck on the accelerator. The car jumped the curb at a strip mall and struck the man as he exited a retail store. We successfully argued that the mall was negligent for failing to place pedestrian protection bollards at the store entrance which was in direct line with a long driveway entrance. The case resulted in a recovery of $2.15 million for the family of the victim.
  • We are currently representing clients in a case where five people were killed, and 13 seriously injured, when a valet at an auto auction house lost control of his Jeep and ran multiple people over.

In short, we have seen this happen before, and helped many people who have suffered serious injuries as a result of being hit by an out-of-control vehicle.

Car crash at strip mall

This out-of-control vehicle jumped the curb at a strip mall and killed our client.

What causes out-of-control car accidents?

Gas pedal problems are nothing new; Tesla and Audi have both had complaints lodged against them for sudden unintended acceleration. We also know that Toyota in particular has a history of accelerator issues as well as problems with its throttles. It is possible that investigators will find that there was a similar problem with Rein’s Toyota 4Runner – a vehicle that has been subject to recall 39 times between 1988 and 2019. The general theory is that these incidents are the result of hardware or software problems, defects in the electrical system, and even floormats.

But the most common cause of out-of-control car crashes is human error. In fact, many of the news stories about “sudden acceleration” end up being stories about the mistakes that drivers make. This can include:

  • Pedal confusion (hitting the gas instead of the brake)
  • Being distracted behind the wheel
  • Falling sleep behind the wheel
  • Losing control while speeding
  • Being drunk or otherwise impaired behind the wheel

Other causes include cars spinning out from traffic crashes and medical emergencies.

Car crash at storefront

Storefront where our client was crushed against a brick wall.

How can cities reduce the number of pedestrian accidents and building strike crashes?

According to the Storefront Safety Council, “Storefront crashes occur more than 100 times per day:

  • 46% of all storefront crashes result in an injury
  • 8% of all storefront crashes result in a fatality
  • Each year in the US, as many as 16,000 people are injured and as many as 2600 are killed in vehicle-into-building crashes.”

One way to reduce these types of accidents is to install pedestrian protection bollards. Bollards are posts, usually made of iron or concrete, that create a perimeter around a space. They have dual purposes: they serve as visual guides for drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians, and they prevent vehicles from entering a space. By installing bollards on the sidewalks around storefronts, shop owners can essentially eliminate the risk of a storefront crash. The Storefront Safety Council supports this choice, suggesting that insurance companies could offer incentives to commercial property owners to install the barriers.

Pedestrian bollards on sidewalk

Bollards save lives.

Another way to reduce accidents from out of control cars would be to install medians with concrete barriers. Median barriers, like bollards, serve as a visual guide for traffic, but they can also stop cars from crossing multiple lanes.

Finally, commercial property owners should also consider their parking lot designs. Roth Construction recommends adding signage to parking lots that tells drivers to slow down, and to design lots so that cars cannot face the building.

As drivers, the best thing we can do is to stay sober and alert behind the wheel. But we cannot control the actions of others, which means local governments and property owners needs to step up to protect people – especially pedestrians, who are often the victims of these crashes.

What should I do if my gas pedal gets stuck?

If you are driving a vehicle and your accelerator gets stuck, there are a few things you should do:

  1. Remove your foot from the gas pedal immediately.
  2. Put your car into neutral (Franklin Automotive says “this may cause the engine to rev but you will begin decelerating since the gears are not engaged with the speeding engine.”)
  3. Apply pressure to your brakes. (Don’t slam them)
  4. Put your hazard lights on.
  5. Steer the vehicle to the side of the road.
  6. Turn the car off.
  7. Call for a tow truck.

What should I do if I am hit by an out-of-control vehicle in Boston?

Whether you are in a vehicle, on a bike, on a motorcycle, or traveling by foot, the first thing you should do after any car accident is seek medical attention. Even if you think you are injured, you should be examined by a doctor; some injuries may take time to fully present, and identifying the signs of those injuries as quickly as possible may be the difference between a strong recovery and a lifetime of pain.

After you have sought treatment, call the Boston car accident attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck. We have decades of experience representing injury victims in courtrooms and in settlement negotiations, and significant experience representing folks who have been hurt in these specific types of cases. We don’t back down when insurance companies refuse to play fair, and we don’t settle cases for less than what they are worth. We make sure you get the proper medical care you need, deal with the insurance companies on your behalf, and prepare your case for a jury in case that is what’s best for you. We provide “worry free” representation for our clients because we are focused on your recovery.

If you sustained injuries or losses in a car crash caused by an out-of-control vehicle anywhere in Massachusetts, we want to help. Call our firm in Boston or fill out our contact form today and get started with a free consultation.

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Wrong way traffic sign

In Massachusetts, state officials have announced a $2.6 million project to install wrong-way detection systems on state highways.

As we approach the holiday travel season, Massachusetts and Connecticut are installing new wrong-way detection systems for safer roads.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) has announced a $2.6 million project to install wrong-way detection systems along 16 Massachusetts highway ramps. There will be several road closures this week in Danvers, Plymouth, Burlington, Webster and Bernardston, according to The Boston Globe.

MassDOT reports work will continue through Spring 2023. The systems will use thermal imaging cameras to detect wrong-way travel. While we will learn more next Spring, Rhode Island and Florida already have similar technology in place to reduce the risk of fatal car accidents. These systems can flash warning lights to drivers before they make wrong turns or alert other drivers of hazardous conditions. The systems can also warn law enforcement when someone makes a wrong turn.

Wrong-Way Crashes Claiming More Lives

Many wrong-way crashes occur on divided highways. These crashes killed approximately 500 people each year between 2015 and 2018, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. This represented a 34 percent increase from 2010 to 2014.

How many people have been killed in wrong-way crashes here in Massachusetts? According to MassDOT, there have been over 2,000 reports of wrong-way vehicles on limited access highways since 2014. Wrong-way crashes have claimed more than 40 lives.

In 2021, AAA and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) called on states to adopt countermeasures, including alcohol ignition interlocks, sobriety checkpoints and adding more visible warning signals.

Operating Under the Influence Causes 6 in 10 Wrong-Way Crashes

Drivers who consume alcohol or drugs, then operate while impaired cause 6 out of 10 wrong-way crashes, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Older drivers and drivers who travel without passengers are also at a higher risk for wrong-way collisions. AAA has reported nearly 87 percent of wrong-way drivers were traveling alone.

Wrong-Way Safety Measures Across New England

You will find wrong-way detection systems in Rhode Island and now, Connecticut. Rhode Island first installed wrong-way detection systems in 2015, following a similar effort in San Antonio, Texas. San Antonio’s wrong-way driver initiative has been credited with a 30 percent reduction in wrong-way driving incidents and improved reporting.

Connecticut is moving forward with wrong-way detection systems after a devastating year of car accidents and injuries. In October, the Connecticut Department of Transportation introduced the new technology. At the same time, officials reported 22 people had been killed in wrong-way crashes in Connecticut in 2022, the highest number in recent memory.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Car Accident Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we fight for you and get results.

With more than 125 years of combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in representing those injured by negligent drivers in Massachusetts. We have extensive experience representing clients injured by car accidents, pedestrian accidents and truck crashes. Our lawyers represent clients at all stages of claims, from accident investigation to appeals if necessary.

If you have been injured, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact our car accident lawyers at Breakstone, White & Gluck at 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form. Our attorneys will take time to review the facts of your case with you and help you determine if you have a potential claim against another driver.

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Boston personal injury attorneys of Breakstone, White & Gluck

Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck have been recognized on the 2022 Massachusetts Super Lawyers lists.

We are pleased to announce that Marc L. Breakstone, David W. White and Ronald E. Gluck have been selected by their peers for 2022 Massachusetts Super Lawyers honors. Our attorneys have been named to the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list and the Massachusetts Super Lawyers lists in the specialties of personal injury and medical malpractice. The lists will be featured in local publications.

Super Lawyers compiles the lists annually, recognizing up to 5 percent of Massachusetts lawyers who exhibit excellence in practice for their clients. Selection is based on a multiphase process of peer nominations, independent research and most important, peer reviews from other experienced attorneys in Boston and across the state.

How our attorneys were recognized:

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone was selected to the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list and the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list in the specialty of medical malpractice representing plaintiffs. Attorney Breakstone has been featured on the Super Lawyers lists each year since 2004, earning recognition on the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers list seven times and the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list 14 times.

Attorney David W. White was selected to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list in the specialty of personal injury law, representing plaintiffs. Attorney White has been featured on the Super Lawyers lists each year since 2004, earning recognition on the Top 100 New England Super Lawyers list three times and the Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers list seven times.

Attorney Ronald E. Gluck was selected to the Massachusetts Super Lawyers list in his specialty of personal injury law representing plaintiffs. This is the 18th consecutive year Attorney Gluck has been selected for recognition by his peers.

Free Legal Consultation – Boston Injury Attorneys

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, our personal injury attorneys fight for you and get results.

Experience matters when you have been injured by someone else’s negligence. With more than 125  years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck is committed to closely partnering with our clients, giving each client the personalized attention and resources their case needs.

Breakstone, White & Gluck specializes in all areas of personal injury law and has expertise representing clients injured by negligence in car crashes, commercial truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, MBTA bus and subway crashes, construction site accidents, dog bites, traumatic brain injuries and victims in product liability and premise liability claims. Our attorneys have represented hundreds of pedestrians and bicyclists injured by negligent driving.

Learn your legal rights if you have been injured by negligence or wrongdoing. For a free legal consultation, call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 to review the facts of your case with one of our attorneys. You can also use our online form.

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Motorcyclists on Fall foliage ride in Massachusetts

Massachusetts is a beautiful place to enjoy Fall on your motorcycle. Read our motorcycle safety tips before you travel.

Many Massachusetts motorcyclists are now planning road trips to enjoy the beautiful Fall foliage. If you are among these riders, we offer some safety reminders and hope you enjoy a fun and safe motorcycle ride, one filled with rich Fall color. 

The first step is to consider your travel route. You may be thinking about taking a ride to Plymouth, Cape Cod or the North Shore because you enjoy driving to these destinations or friends have shared positive reviews. But really consider your route, the distance and weather forecast when you take your motorcycle.

Most of all, be realistic about your motorcycle riding experience. Many motorcyclists travel out to Western Massachusetts to explore the Mohawk Trail, Shelburne Falls or Mount Greylock. While there are majestic views, motorcyclists – and other drivers – may be surprised to find such narrow roads and sharp curves on their first visit. Learning a little more about road conditions may help you ride safer.

Planning a Safe Motorcycle Ride This Fall Foliage Season

Wear a Motorcycle Helmet and Proper Gear

Follow Massachusetts Traffic Laws and Stay Visible

Avoid Fatigue, Exhaustion and Distractions

Riding Alone, With a Passenger of With A Group

When You Have Been Injured or Your Motorcycle Has Been Damaged

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Boston personal injury lawyers Breakstone, White & Gluck

Ronald E. Gluck, Marc L. Breakstone and David W. White of Breakstone, White & Gluck.

Breakstone, White & Gluck is proud to announce our three partners have been recognized in the 2023 edition of Best Lawyers in America©. The rankings were publicly announced on August 18, 2022. Marc L. BreakstoneDavid W. White and Ronald E. Gluck were recognized for their experience and expertise in these practice areas:

  • Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  • Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs
  • Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs
  • Insurance Law

This recognition comes after Breakstone, White & Gluck celebrated 30 years of practicing law in Boston this summer. Combined, all four of our attorneys offer more than 125 years experience.

Best Lawyers has released these widely-respected rankings annually in partnership with U.S. News & World Report and other media partners since the early 1980s. The rankings are compiled as a guide to help inform consumers as they hire an attorney. The lists are based on an extensive peer-review evaluation. Breakstone, White & Gluck and our attorneys were selected based on the feedback of other local lawyers and those whom they have opposed in court. Best Lawyers was founded upon “the principle that the best lawyers would know, and be able to recognize, the best lawyers in their location and practice area.”

The rankings recognize just 5 percent of attorneys in private practice across the United States for their skills and abilities. Read about our partners:

Marc L. Breakstone
David W. White
Ronald E. Gluck


Attorney Marc L. Breakstone

Reza Breakstone

Marc L. Breakstone

Attorney Marc L. Breakstone has been recognized in the 2023 Best Lawyers in America rankings in these specialties: Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Professional Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs and Medical Malpractice Litigation – Plaintiffs.

Attorney Breakstone has represented seriously injured clients in personal injury and medical malpractice cases since 1986. He has a reputation for working tirelessly to ensure his clients receive full and fair compensation as well as the most favorable medical result.

In his practice, Attorney Breakstone represents victims of personal injury and wrongful death, motor vehicle accidents, pedestrian accidents, MBTA bus accidents, medical malpractice and propane gas explosions. His awards include a $10.2 million settlement for his client who was the victim of ambulance negligence and $7.5 million for his client who lost their loved one in a propane gas explosion.

David W. WhiteAttorney Breakstone has been consistently praised by his clients and recognized, including by Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the specialty of medical malpractice. He has been rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell for 25 years, an honor recognizing attorneys for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards. Read more about Marc.

 


Attorney David W. White

David W. White - Boston Personal Injury Lawyer

David W. White

Attorney David W. White has been recognized in the 2023 Best Lawyers in America rankings in these specialties: Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, Product Liability Litigation – Plaintiffs, Insurance Law and Medical Malpractice Law – Plaintiffs.

A past president of the Massachusetts Bar Association, Attorney White specializes in helping victims of personal injury, wrongful death, bicycle accidents, motor vehicle crashes, dog bites, construction accidents, premises liability accidents and defective products.

Attorney White’s settlements and verdicts include a $4.35 million award for his client who fell from an unsecured cooling tower on a construction accident site. He recovered $2.5 million for his client injured by a homeowner’s negligent use of a fire pit.

Ronald E. GluckAttorney White has been consistently praised by his clients and recognized, including by Best Lawyers in America, Top 100 New England Super Lawyers, Top 100 Massachusetts Super Lawyers and Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the specialty of personal injury law. He has been rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, an honor recognizing attorneys for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards.  Read more about David.

 


Attorney Ronald E. Gluck

Ronald E. Gluck

Ronald E. Gluck

Attorney Ron Gluck has been recognized in the 2023 Best Lawyers in America rankings in his specialty of Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs. Attorney Gluck has practiced law in Boston for more than 30 years. He offers his clients a unique combination of compassion and strategic abilities in developing cases to achieve the best financial result.

In his practice, Attorney Gluck represents victims of personal injury and wrongful death, traumatic brain injuries, car accidents, truck accidents, pedestrian accidents and bicycle accidents, including crashes caused by the operators of large vehicles and commercial trucks.

Attorney Gluck has been consistently praised by his clients and recognized by Best Lawyers in America and Massachusetts Super Lawyers in the specialty of personal injury law. He has been rated AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell, an honor recognizing attorneys for their strong legal ability and high ethical standards.

Attorney Gluck’s verdicts and settlements on behalf of clients include $3.75 million recovered for a motorcyclist who was hit by a negligent driver and $2.5 million for a driver who was struck and seriously injured by the driver of an 18-wheel truck. Read more about Ron.


Free Legal Consultation – Boston Personal Injury Lawyers

At Breakstone, White & Gluck, we fight for justice for those who have been seriously injured by the negligence of others. We represent clients in Boston, Cambridge and across Massachusetts. With more than 125  years combined experience, our personal injury lawyers have won numerous record-setting verdicts and settlements for clients in negligence, car accident, product liability and medical malpractice cases.

If you have been injured by someone’s negligence, learn your legal rights. For a free legal consultation, contact Breakstone, White & Gluck at 1-800-379-1244 or 1-617-723-7676 our use our contact form.

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Cycling dooring accidents

Drivers can use the Dutch Reach and reduce their chances of causing a cyclist a dooring injury. This approach calls on drivers to reach for their door with their right hand, across their body so they have a better view of the road and oncoming cyclists.

Drivers are sharing the road with cyclists as we enjoy August here in Massachusetts. Whether you are at home in the Boston area or vacationing on Cape Cod, we hope you give cyclists extra room when you drive and turn through intersections. We also want to remind you to use the Dutch Reach.

What is the Dutch Reach? It is a simple safety approach to help drivers park, look for cyclists and open their car doors safely. The goal is to prevent dooring injuries to cyclists. Using the Dutch Reach can raise your awareness of cyclists and save you from the trauma and shock of opening a car door into a bike. In our experience, we have heard many drivers say they look for cyclists on the road. But this changes when drivers park; many say they never even saw the cyclist coming.

The Dutch Reach can also save you from having to pay a costly auto insurance claim and fine. Opening a car door and interfering with a cyclist – or a pedestrian – is a traffic offense in Massachusetts. Drivers can be fined $100 for dooring under M.G.L c. 90, § 14.

Five Years of Encouraging the Dutch Reach in Massachusetts 

Massachusetts added an advisory on the Dutch Reach method to its driver’s manual in 2017, with a push from a local safety advocate following a cyclist’s tragic death. The cyclist was killed in a bicycle crash involving a car door in Inman Square in Cambridge in 2016.  Massachusetts was one of the first states to add this advisory, which calls on drivers to park and:

  • Check your rear-view mirrors.
  • Check your side-view mirrors.
  • Open the door with your far hand. 

Drivers should open their doors with their right hand; front-seat passengers should use their left. When you do this, you have a better chance of seeing cyclists approaching from behind. You become more aware of what’s known as the “door zone” and bike lane. By pausing and checking, you are less likely to seriously injure a cyclist in a dooring accident. 

Watch a demonstration:

 

This approach has become part of the culture in the Netherlands, which has one of the lowest rates for bicycle accidents in the world (Source: National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), Bicyclist Safety on US Roadways: Crash Risks and Countermeasures, NTSB/SS-19/01). Children learn this approach early and it is covered in driver’s education classes.

The National Transportation Safety Board has recommended all states include Dutch Reach advisories in their driving manuals.  As of 2021, Massachusetts, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Washington and Washington D.C. had all done so, according to the Dutch Reach Project.

Share the Dutch Reach Method With Family and Friends

Try the Dutch Reach next time you drive to the local post office or to pick up dinner. Then take time to share the Dutch Reach with your family members and passengers. Sharing the Dutch Reach may just help someone else in your life, especially during August and September, when many of us are on vacation and driving unfamiliar roads. Or we may be moving into new apartments for the Fall semester in Boston and venturing out. Unfortunately, many drivers and pedestrians do not really see cyclists on the side of the road. We are more focused on the cars and trucks in the traffic lane.

Before we sign off, a few more safety reminders for drivers and car doors. Remember, you have a responsibility to close the car door when you take in groceries or unload your car. You should never block or interfere with the bike lane. Cyclists may see your door open yet still be unable to stop. You could cause not one, but multiple bicycle accidents.

Last, use your cell phone with caution. When you park, you may want to reach right for your phone. More and more, drivers are using mobile apps to pay for parking or to pick-up take out or groceries. Someone may be sending you an alert or two.

But think twice and pause. You want to enjoy the month of August and focus on your September ahead. Reaching for your cell phone can be highly distracting as you exit your vehicle – and seriously injure a cyclist.

Learn About Breakstone, White & Gluck

bwg-1200×628With more than 125 years combined experience, Breakstone, White & Gluck has been consistently recognized as a top-rated Boston personal injury law firm. Our lawyers specialize in representing cyclists and others who have been injured by negligent driving in Boston, Cambridge, Quincy and across Massachusetts. If you have been injured, feel free to contact our firm. We offer a free legal consultation and one of our attorneys will take time to review the facts of your case with you and help you determine whether you have a potential legal claim. You can call 800-379-1244 or 617-723-7676 or use our contact form.

kidsafe-1200We also invite you to learn more about our Project KidSafe campaign for bike safety, which we began 10 years ago! To date, we have donated over 36,000 free bicycle helmets to children in Boston and across Massachusetts. Our goal with this campaign is to encourage children to protect themselves by wearing a helmet every time they ride.

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Motorcyclist approaches an intersection between a driver.Cars and motorcycles must share the same road. It is your responsibility as the driver to look out for each other. You must learn to share the road and drive responsibly. Driving a motorcycle, however, places you at risk for more serious injuries because your entire body will absorb the impact from any form of collision.

Even if you wear proper gear, from helmets to a Kevlar vest, you can still face major injuries because a motorcycle leaves you exposed. Sadly, other drivers may fail to see motorcycles because they are smaller. On top of that, others engage in reckless behavior such as DUI or distracted driving.

A collision between a car and a motorcycle running at high speeds usually results in a catastrophe. If you find yourself in this situation because of another driver’s negligence, consider contacting a reputable accident attorney to help you find justice. Learn more about the most common causes of crashes between a car and motorcycle; and what you can do to mitigate it.

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