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September 2013 Archives

Just a Walk in the Park?

Here in Massachusetts, if a person uses recreational land, free of charge, which is open to the public and then sustains an injury while on the land, the owners of that recreational land are most likely immune from suit unless the person can prove that the accident happened due to the wilful, wanton or reckless conduct of the landowner.  G.L. c. 32, s. 17C applies in such cases and protects the landowner unless the injured person can prove that:  a) the landowner knowingly and intentionally disregarded an unreasonable risk;  and  b) that risk entails a high degree of probability that substantial harm could result to the claimant-  that is the standard for proving wilful, wanton or reckless conduct and it is a very difficult standard to satisfy.

Speed Kills [maybe not?]

There has been a recent push in many states to increase the speed limit on major highways.  Now, Massachusetts has recently jumped in with a state representative wanting to create legislation to increase the speed limit on parts of the turnpike and I-95 from 65 to 70 mph [nothing, however, like the state highway in Texas which now posts an 85 mph speed limit!].

Gypsy Cabs

In the last month in Boston, there were 2 incidents involving sexual assaults committed by drivers of unmarked [gypsy] cabs on their passengers.  Each time, a young female chose to take a ride with a gypsy cab driver in a vehicle with no markings or medallion and suffered terrible consequences.

Driver Fatigue = Lethal Consequences

The link between driver fatigue and attentiveness is well recognized.  Lethal consequences can result when tired, inattentive drivers remain behind the wheel, especially if they operate the multi-ton commercial tractor trailers that thunder down our highways 24/7.  

Beware the Black Box

Most of us know that event data recorders (EDRs), also commonly known as "black boxes" or "sensing and diagnotic modules," are installed in airplanes.  But fewer of us know that most auto manufacturers currently install these devices in new vehicles.  In fact, in December 2012, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new rule that would require automakers to install EDRs in all light passenger vehicles beginning in September 2014.  The purpose of an EDR in a motor vehicle is, in the event of a collision, to capture such information as vehicle speed and safety belt use in order to better understand how the vehicle systems performed.  

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