In my line of work as a Route 128 car accident lawyer, I see all too often the aftermath of Massachusetts car accidents. So I’m happy to report that starting on Friday and Saturday nights for the balance of this summer, the Massachusetts State Police will add 11 patrols to cruise Route 24 and also Interstate 195 every weekend from 8:00 PM to 4:00 AM. The reason: Those roadways have experienced a recent spike in motor vehicle accidents and even deaths during those hours. The increased patrols are an attempt by law enforcement to counter those injuries and fatalities. The extra patrols will cost about $125,000. Before this new arrangement, only three State Police cars have been on those roads during those times.
It is estimated that more than 100,000 drivers travel on Route 24 every day.
Six people have been killed in Massachusetts motor vehicle fatalities on Route 24 so far this year – that’s compared to just five traffic fatalities on Route 24 in all of 2011. Three of them occurred just this month, in July. Here’s a brief rundown of those fatalities. Angel Pina of Norton was ejected from her truck and killed on July 12 when her truck rolled over after one of its back tires had a blowout. Later, on July 15, Lisa Banat, who was traveling the wrong way on Route 24 – can you imagine that? – struck a pick-up truck head-on. The truck’s driver was also killed when his truck burst into flames. That’s terrifying to think of, never mind to actually witness.
While the State Police decision to increase patrols along Route 24 during peak hojurs was made late last week, another fatality occurred on that road just today. Early this morning, two people in separate vehicles were killed in an apparent wrong-way crash on Route 24 in West Bridgewater. This is all quite disturbing.
I should also point out that although Massachusetts pedestrian-car accidents frequently occur at intersections, pedestrian injuries can occur on highways. Typically, they happen when a driver is standing outside of his or her car in the breakdown lane. The next thing you know, a car comes barreling down the breakdown lane – all perfectly legal in Massachusetts during specific, set times during the day – and the vehicle crashes into the driver standing outside his or her car. Even though it’s legal during posted times, I almost never drive in the breakdown lane – and I think the state’s decision to allow traffic in these lanes is foolish in the extreme. Yes, I’m aware that traffic volume on our state highways is much higher than it was when these roadwasy were originally built, and I know that, mathematically, traffic will move faster if an additional lane were opened up for travel, but to use the lane reserved for stationary breakdowns, for regular traffic flow, is a prescription waiting for disaster. Does the average driver think that he or she can cruise along at a typical 60 MPH or faster, and suddenly stop in time when they notice that the car in front of them is stopped in that lane, broken down? That driver is going to plow into the stopped vehicle, and two funerals are likely going to result. But that’s just my opinion.
I personally find it so dangerous to drive in the breakdown lane that I never ever do it. As a Norfolk County injury lawyer, I’m always flabbergasted at the nonchalance with which drivers speed down breakdown lanes, especially on Route 128, to avoid the traffic in the other three left lanes. I see it all the time, and I shake my head. One of these days, when someone actually stops in the breakdown lane because their car has broken down – which is what that lane was meant for – he or she will get hit there, and almost certainly killed. Then state officials and others will scratch their heads and say, “Gee, I guess allowing traffic in the breakdown lanes wasn’t such a good idea.” Only then it will be too late for the victims.
Driving on the Massachusetts Turnpike, Route 128, Route 495, and Route 24 and Interstate 195 can be very dangerous. Massachusetts car accidents on these roadways can lead to devastating catastrophic injuries and fatalities. Remember, speed kills. Always go the speed limit, wear your seatbelt, and drive defensively.