Articles Posted in Drunk Driving Victims

According to CBS Boston, state police reported that there were no fatal auto accidents on Massachusetts’ highways over the 2012 Thanksgiving weekend. The lack of crashes is a major victory because Thanksgiving historically kicks off the most dangerous time of year for traffic fatalities.

The highways were likely safer this holiday season because of the large number of state troopers out across the state. The troopers were cracking down on drunk drivers and their efforts in Massachusetts weren’t the only enforcement efforts going on over the holidays. State police throughout the six New England states have all joined forces this holiday season to enforce safe driving rules and to raise awareness among the public in the hopes that fatal accidents can be reduced during the holidays. The combined efforts of state police focus on preventing three behaviors: distracted driving, impaired driving and aggressive driving. 1337577_wine_swirl.jpg

Our Boston car accident attorneys want to remind everyone this holiday season to take the safety rules seriously. Not only will you be dealing with police on the highways, but you also put your life at risk when you engage in dangerous driving behavior. To help you stay safe this holiday season, we’re discussing each of the three driving behaviors the police have identified as contributing factors in crashes. Today’s focus on holiday traffic safety is on the dangers of impaired driving.

The Dangers of Impaired Driving

The dangers of drunk driving are well-known to everyone and campaigns against drunk drivers are widely publicized. Yet, despite the strict laws and the strict penalties that drunk drivers face, people continue to get behind the wheel when they are drunk. In fact, according to the CBS News report, 13 people were arrested and 288 ticketed along Routes 24 and 195 in Southeastern Michigan on the Friday and Saturday nights following Thanksgiving. DUI checkpoints in Lowell on Friday and Canton on Saturday also resulted in 21 arrests for operating under the influence (OUI).

While there were no fatal crashes over the Thanksgiving weekend due to drunk drivers, deaths still continue to occur as a result of impaired drivers in Massachusetts. In fact, according to the Century Council, there were 114 alcohol-impaired driving fatalities in 2010, 14 of which involved people 21 and younger.

Avoiding Drunk Driving This Holiday Season
Drunk driving is never OK and you face far too many consequences to even consider getting behind the wheel drunk. In addition to arrest and criminal penalties, you could also kill yourself or someone else. To make sure you never are in a position where you might be tempted to drive drunk:

  • Always take a designated driver with you if you are planning to drink.
  • Never let a friend drive while intoxicated- take away his keys if you have to.
  • Parents should remind children that they can call them any time for a ride, no questions asked, rather than getting into the car with a drunk driver.
  • Have cab money and the number of a cab company with you whenever you are going out somewhere where you might be tempted to drink.
  • Err on the side of caution and have a rule that if you have more than one or two drinks, you will not drive.

By making smart choices and having a plan in place before you start your holiday celebrating, you can avoid contributing to the problem of drunk drivers. You should also be cautious of the possibility that others may be driving while intoxicated- especially when driving late at night in areas near clubs or bars. Finally, if you or a loved one is injured by a drunk driver, remember that you have legal rights and can hold that driver accountable.
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According to a recently-released study published in the Journal of Safety Research, young drivers aren’t likely to recognize the risks and the dangers that are associated with driving while they’re sleep deprived.

Officials with the National Safety Council (NSC) conducted the study and concluded that driving without enough sleep is just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol. Unfortunately, attitudes towards each of these behaviors are vastly different, especially among young drivers.
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Officials believe that there are thousands killed in drowsy driving car accidents in Quincy and elsewhere every year. The true number may never be known because drivers are not likely to admit to an officer that they were feeling sleepy when the accident happened. As a matter of fact, officials estimate that about 100,000 accidents are caused every year by fatigued drivers. The most recent statistics from DrowsyDriving.org conclude that nearly 60 percent of those who are involved in these kinds of accidents are under the age of 25.

According to the recent study from the NSC:

-Young drivers are some of the most likely to be involved in a sleep-deprived car accident.

-Among drivers who take long road trips, drivers under the age of 30-years-old are most likely to drive without enough sleep than any other age group.

-Some of the driving errors that are made by a driver who is sleep-deprived are awfully similar to the driving errors that are made by a driver who has been drinking.

“Drunk driving is universally viewed as dangerous, but young people especially don’t understand the very serious risks associated with drowsy and distracted driving,” said Janet Froetscher, National Safety Council’s presidents and CEO.

The truth of the matter is that all drivers need to be aware of the risks that are associated with driving while drowsy.

The recent study looked at how drivers of different ages saw drowsy driving and compared those perspectives to their perspectives on drunk driving. Researchers had no difficulty in figuring that young drivers saw sleepy driving as acceptable and understandable, while they saw drinking and driving as a definite no!

Tips to Avoid Drowsy Driving:

-Make sure you’re getting at least 8 hours of sleep every night.

-Drive with a friend and switch spots when you start to feel tired.

-Schedule regular rest stops to get out and stretch. You should stop every 100 miles or at least once every 2 hours.

-Never drink alcohol or take any sleep-inducing medications before drinking.

What a driver should never do is try to power through the sleepiness. That is one of the worst mistakes you can make. Caffeine will only work for so long, as will loud music and open windows too. If you feel drowsy behind the wheel it’s critical for you to stop driving. You should either switch spots with a passenger or just pull over in a safe area and get some rest!
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Think A-Head!

It’s a new school-based brain injury awareness program that’s helping to spread the word about the dangers that come with prom season. One of the main dangers face teens nationwide is the risk for drunk driving car accidents in Boston and elsewhere.

That’s why the Brain Injury Association of Massachusetts (BIA-MA) launched the Think A-Head injury awareness program, according to Community Advocates.
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This program is targeting students from 9th through 12th grade. It’s aim is to help educate through a 60-minute Prepare for Prom program. The program will offer these young prom-goers with tips on how to plan a safe prom and how to effectively fight peer pressure and to avoid dangerous behaviors.

Our Boston drunk driving car accident lawyers understand that teens not only need to be aware of the risks that are associated with prom, but they need to know the potentially fatal consequences that are associated with the consumption of alcohol and drugs, especially when driving. This is where the program and parents come in. By talking about these dangers, teens will be more equipped to handle them the right and safe way.

“We hope the students take away tactics and strategies they can use during pressure-filled situations to keep themselves and their friends safe,” said BJ Williams, BIA-MA’s Manager of Prevention Programs.

Parents are also urged to join in on the program. As a matter of fact, there’s a course specifically designed for this. In this course, parents will learn how to talk to their teens and offer them tailored tips to help keep teens safe during out-of-school activities where they’re likely to face peer pressure. Keeping an open conversation with your teen about the scenarios they’re likely to expect will help to prepare them for how to deal with them when they arise.

Car accidents are the number one cause of death for teenagers across the country. Of the drivers who were killed in these kinds of accidents in 2009, about a third of them were under the influence of alcohol behind the wheel. While they’re not old enough to drink legally, it doesn’t mean they can’t get it and that they won’t do it.

The Think A-Head program is helping to teach students across the state how to avoid risk-taking behaviors and how to create and adhere to healthy living habits.

BIA-MA’s Tips for Teens for a Safe Prom:

-Plan out and discuss prom plans with friends ahead of time.

-Keep parents in the loop. They’re there to help.

-Discuss curfews with parents. Everyone should be on the same page.

-Practice saying no to alcohol and drugs before the big night.

-Parents should take inventory of the alcohol in the home.

-Secure alcohol away from teens.

-Known who’s driving your kid.

-Stress seat belt usage.

-Don’t condone poor choice scenarios by renting a hotel room or offering a place to have a post-prom party.
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A Foxboro man involved in a recent Massachusetts car accident had to be airlifted by medical helicopter to a Boston hospital. He was injured when he was thrown from a pickup truck that rolled over twice after colliding with another vehicle at South and West streets.

The accident closed the busy intersection for about an hour, according to The Sun Chronicle. This was the first of two serious accidents that happened on South Street on Tuesday. The accident happened when the truck, heading northbound on South Street, collided with a car, rolled over twice and ended up on its wheels.
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Only three hours later, a woman drove her mini van into a utility pole on South Street just about a mile from the first accident. The front wheel of the van was knocked off in the crash.

Our Boston car accident attorneys understand that your chances of dying in a car accident during the month of August are much greater than during any other month of the year. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, 2005 to 2009 statistics conclude that seven of the 25 deadliest days overall on our roadways are in August.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also reports that, from its records going back to 1994, more Americans die in car accidents during the month of August than any other time of the year.

August has an average death rate of 1.09. September comes in second with a death rate of 1.08. March is the safest month on our roadways with a death rate of 0.94. While the change may seem small, it amounts to thousands of additional accidents.

During 2009, an average of 93 people died because of traffic accidents on U.S. roadways every day. That’s an average of one death every 16 minutes, according to MSN Money.

You typically face more risks during the weekends, compared to the weekdays. Weekends are a time when residents get out and run extra errands, visit family and take day trips. Weekends are also a time when the presence of drunk drivers increases.

Saturdays are typically more fatal than Sundays. In 2009, Saturdays averaged 123 deaths nationwide while Sundays saw an average of 107 deaths. Fridays closely followed with a 102 average deaths.

Run all your errands on a Tuesday because that’s your safest time on our roads! Tuesdays have an average of 69 fatalities.

The rest of the daily fatality rate averages:

-Mondays: 79 deaths.

-Wednesdays: 78 deaths.

-Thursdays: 84 deaths.

“A large proportion of crashes happen in late afternoon and early evening in general, but especially in August,” says Russ Rader, a spokesman for the institute. That’s when the roads fill up both with commuters and vacationers.

One reason for the nation’s high death rate is probably because millions of Americans continue to drive without wearing a seat belt despite decades of pro-belt campaigns.

“If everyone buckled up on every trip, we would sharply reduce the number of fatal crashes that we expect to happen this summer,” Rader says.
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A mother and her two young daughters were involved in a fatal rollover car accident in Boston on Interstate 90 after the mom lost control of her vehicle recently. The vehicle rolled over three times and landed right side up. The two young girls were thrown from the car and the 6-year-old died in the accident. None of the passengers were wearing seat belts, according to Boston.com.
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Reports indicate that the driver lost control of the car trying to get out of the way of a vehicle that drove into her lane. Massachusetts authorities are still deciding whether or not to file charges against the mother, The Boston Globe reports. She has a record of serious motor vehicle violations. The mother had her license suspended back in March for driving while under the influence of alcohol. She also neglected to place her children in the appropriate child-safety seats.

A second Massachusetts rollover car accident left a man in critical condition at a local hospital after an accident on Route 114 in North Andover, according to the Eagle Tribune and North Andover Patch. Traveling eastbound on Route 114, the driver lost control of his sport utility vehicle and rolled multiple times. His car came to rest at the corner of Willow Road and Route 114.

The driver was airlifted to Boston Medical Center. The North Andover Police Accident Reconstruction Team is investigating the accident, according to Eagle Tribune.

It doesn’t end there. A third rollover accident happened last week on the 800 block of Turnpike Street. The driver was airlifted to a hospital in Boston after his sport utility vehicle rolled over several times. Police report the car rolled over a span of about 200 feet.

These are just a few of the rollover accidents that have happened in the Boston area in the last month. Airbags may be one of the greatest pieces of safety equipment in a rollover accident.

Side airbags are installed in a number of vehicles to help protect passengers in the event of one of these accidents. Right now, some vehicles are equipped with side airbags. These are airbags that deploy for six seconds to ensure occupant safety in the event of a rollover accident. Other vehicles have side airbags that only inflate for milliseconds. Even worse, there are some vehicles that have side airbags that aren’t even designed to deploy in a rollover accident. These particular types of airbags are designed to deploy only when the vehicle is hit from the side.

Another unfortunate outcome of a rollover accident is when a passenger is ejected from the vehicle. It is estimated that more than half of the 10,000 people that are killed each year in rollover accidents die after they are ejected from the vehicle. The longer a side airbag stays inflated, the less likely a passenger is to be thrown from the vehicle.

In an attempt to provide more safety measures to SUV occupants, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration introduced a rollover rating system back in 2001. This system bases a vehicle’s rollover rating on an engineering analysis of each vehicle’s center of gravity and the width between the front tires. The rollover rating scale ranks from five stars, which means the vehicle has a rollover risk of less than 10 percent, to a one star, which indicates a rollover risk greater than 40 percent.
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Many of us spend most of May anticipating Memorial Day because it marks the kickoff of picnics, barbecues and the first official three-day summer holiday weekend. The National Safety Council wants to remind motorists to buckle up this Memorial Day weekend because the risks of being involved in a Boston car accident are heightened this time of year.

Car accident lawyers in Boston and elsewhere throughout the state know how nice it is to sit back and relax at your first summer gathering, but the increased traffic and threat of too much alcohol consumption can make it risky getting home later.
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In 2009, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported four fatal crashes in Massachusetts on Memorial Day. There were six deaths as a result of the crashes.

The NSC estimates that this Memorial Day weekend, which begins Friday, May 27 at 6 p.m. and ends Monday, May 30 at 11:59 p.m., will produce more than 400 traffic fatalities and another 39,400 injuries needing medical attention throughout the course of the holiday weekend. The council also estimates that more than 100 lives could be saved during the upcoming holiday weekend if motorists choose to fasten their seatbelts while riding in the car.

Over the last few years, Memorial Day weekend has been considered deadly when compared to similar non-holiday periods. Heightened traffic, aggressive driving, speeding and drunk driving have contributed to the averaged 12.2 percent increase in traffic fatalities during this holiday weekend over the last few years. In 2009, Memorial Day reported more traffic fatalities nationally than any other holiday, including New Year’s Day, Labor Day and Christmas Day.

The NSC offers the following safety tips as you venture out this Memorial Day Weekend:
-Allow sufficient travel time to get to your picnic or gathering so that heavy traffic and the urge to speed don’t play a role in your travel plans to arrive on time.

-If you are the designated driver, refrain from consuming any alcohol or have one cocktail at arrival which should cut off drinking hours before you plan to leave the barbecue.

-Minimize distractions while you are driving by putting your cell phone in the glove compartment and entering the address in the GPS before you put the car in drive.

-If stormy weather is a threat, use extra caution or wait out the storm in a safe place until it passes.

-Ensure everyone, especially children, are buckled in before you start to drive.

Massachusetts motorists are being warned that the zero tolerance enforcement of seat belt laws will be enforced throughout the state from May 23 to June 5, 2011. Police will pull over all motorists that are spotted without a sea tbelt.
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Boston sports fans have a lot to be excited about these days with the Celtics cruising through the playoffs and the Red Sox turning their season around after a dismal start in April.

Our Boston personal injury lawyers want to remind fans it is never a good idea to drink and drive — so keep the boozing to a minimum if you are responsible for driving yourself home after the game.
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Alcohol and sporting events tend to go hand in hand. Not only does too much alcohol consumption cause a high risk of drunk driving accidents in Boston, but fans are in danger of assault, vandalism or other alcohol-related incidents during or after the game.

Earlier this year, Bloomberg Businessweek reported just how common alcohol consumption is at sporting events. A recent study by the University of Minnesota found that 8 percent of sports fans walk out of the venue legally drunk.

Spectators volunteered to take a breathalyzer test following a total of 16 professional football and baseball games at 2 different venues. After measuring blood alcohol concentration in 382 participants, the study provided the following conclusions:

-1 in 12 fans left the sporting event intoxicated.

-Fans who tailgated prior to the game were 14 times more likely to leave drunk than a fan who didn’t hang out before the game.

-Age makes a difference – under age 35 were 9 times more likely to be drunk than over age 35.

-Tailgaters admitted to drinking at least 5 alcoholic drinks in 25 percent of the total respondents. Those tested with a higher BAC admitted to almost 7 alcoholic drinks prior to the game.

There were only an average of 20 volunteer participants after each game who participated in the study. Almost 60 percent of respondents were male, 55 percent were between ages 21 and 35, and a small percentage was age 51 or older. When putting the statistics into simple terms, venues that hold upwards of 50,000 to 100,000 fans, 4,000 to 8,000 are leaving the venue too drunk to drive.

A general rule at most baseball stadiums is that the last call is either 2 hours after the first pitch or during the 7th inning, whichever comes first. A recent article in the Boston Herald reports that the more money you can afford to spend on a ticket at Fenway determines how long you can actually drink at the game. The middle-class patron who pays for the cheap seats at Fenway get cut off by the standard tradition. However, those fans who can afford field box seats, Dugout Seats’ Absolut Clubhouse, Gosling’s Dark and Stormy boardroom, Pavilion Suites, and the Legends Suites at the Monster Corner can start partying 2 hours before the game through an hour after the final pitch. It is almost as if rich fans are immune to being over the legal limit, unlike the average Joe.

Sports fans are completely in control of determining how much and how long they can drink before safety becomes an issue. Make the responsible choice to not drink at all or designate a driver to get you home safely before you put yourself in danger of a drunk driving or other alcohol-related accident.
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Your new car could eventually come equipped with an alcohol-detection device if the federal government gets its way. This option could be available within the next 10 years if proposed funding goes through, according to KSDK News. These detectors could possibly help reduce the risks of Boston drunk driving accidents.

Our Massachusetts personal injury lawyers recognize the personal liberty arguments that will no doubt be made — but we also understand that many serious and fatal car accidents in Massachusetts are caused by chronic DUI offenders. We first reported on the issue in January on our Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog.
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“We’ve worked on behavior modification for the last 30 years, but we’re still killing almost 11,000 Americans a year,” said Laura Dean-Mooney, national president of Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). The next best option is the installation of alcohol-detection devices, she believes.

While still in the developmental stages, Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADSS) will be able to test a driver’s blood alcohol content (BAC) through either a touch-based approach or a breath-based approach, reports the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The DADSS is a feature designed to keep intoxicated drivers from operating their vehicle if their BAC exceeds the legal limit.

“What we’re doing is developing technology that won’t interfere with sober drivers, will require virtually no maintenance or upkeep and will have such precision that it only stops a driver when their blood alcohol content is .08 BAC or higher, which is the illegal limit for drunk driving in every state,” said Shane Karr. “Now that we have actual prototypes, a tremendous feat in itself, we’ll be working to identify the gaps in performance between these prototypes and the precise standards we’ve identified as true technology requirements. This will point the way forward for the next phase of research.”

The NHTSA reports that nearly 11,000 people died in car accidents involving a drunk driver in 2009. This number makes up 32 percent of all fatal crashes.

“Whatever the future holds for these advanced drunk driving prevention technologies, one thing remains clear; no technology can, or should, ever replace a driver’s personal responsibility not to drive drunk,” the Administrator said.
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As the school year winds down in Massachusetts, students will be at increased risk of Boston car accidents. This is the first entry of a four-blog series covering the impact of distracted driving, drunk driving, and speeding among teen drivers.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that car accidents are the leading cause of death among teens between the ages of 15 and 20. With prom, spring break, graduation, and the summer drawing near, our Boston personal injury lawyers remind parents that teen drivers are at increased risk of car accidents and injuries caused by distracted driving, drunk driving, speeding, seat belt violations, and cell phone use while driving. These activities pose a threat to young drivers as well as other motorists on the road.
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The NHTSA also reports that, mile for mile, teens are involved in three times more Boston car accidents than all other drivers. Massachusetts car accidents involving young drivers killed 68 motorists in 2008, according to government statistics.

Lay out rules to keep your teen safe from a Massachusetts car accident:

– Set a passenger limit.

– Remind teens to always buckle up.

– No cell phone while driving.

– Absolutely no alcohol.

– Obey all speed limit restrictions.

– Develop a curfew.

– Spell our repercussions for broken rules.

Here you can find a Massachusetts parent-teen safe driving contract, courtesy of Distraction.gov.
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The Boston personal injury lawyers and staff at the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman wish each of you a safe and enjoyable Super Bowl weekend. While it won’t be as hectic as it would if the Patriots were playing, the year’s biggest football weekend brings an increased risk of drunk driving accidents.

A substantial number of Boston car accidents are caused each year by drunk drivers. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports 151 of the state’s 363 accidents involved alcohol in 2009.
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“Football is one of America’s favorite pastimes, but fans can put themselves in serious danger if they don’t plan ahead,” said NHTSA Administrator David Strickland. “Whether you’re at the game or watching from a sports bar or a friend’s house, designate a sober driver before the game. And remember, Fans Don’t Let Fans Drive Drunk.”

Mothers Against Drunk Driving is encouraging party hosts to be prepared.

“There’s a reason it’s called throwing a party – a host has to be ready for the occasional trick play and juggle the unexpected when it comes to staging an event that’s fun, entertaining and safe for everyone,” the organization said. “Responsible hosts know that part of showing guests a great time is making sure they get home safely.”

Safety tips for party hosts and guests include:

-Plan Activities, which can reduce the consumption of alcohol.

-Avoid Mixers: They can cause alcohol to be absorbed more quickly and may cause people to drink more.

-Designate sober drivers.

-Provide plenty of food.

-Avoid too many salty snacks, which can prompt people to drink more.

-Offer plenty of non-alcoholic beverages.

-Never serve alcohol to anyone under the age of 21.

-Be proactive: If a guest has had too much to drink, make sure they have a safe way home or invite them to sleep over.
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