Despite advancements in automotive technology and attempts to emphasize road safety, auto crashes with injuries and fatalities are still a problem in Massachusetts and nationwide. To make the roads safer, there have been recent changes to state traffic laws.
The new laws focus on pedestrians and bicyclists, but if they are followed, they could lead to fewer accidents for everyone who takes to state roadways. Still, even with greater attention to safety, collisions will happen. People must be aware of what they can do to recover in every way after an accident.
What are the new traffic laws supposed to do?
Departing Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker signed the new laws. Now, drivers must give a minimum of four feet to bicyclists, pedestrians and smaller vehicles when passing them. When others are on the road, whether they are doing road work, repairs or construction, drivers are required to give them four feet of space.
In addition, they are required to travel at a “reasonable speed.” When they cross the yellow centerline to pass, it must be safe to do so. The speed limit must be followed. Signs will be posted to ensure drivers are aware of these regulations.
Truckers are under greater scrutiny with the need to have a device blocking the open spaces between a trailer’s wheels to shield bicyclists. Also, the trucks must be equipped with backup cameras and additional mirrors to address blind spots.
These new rules have been put in effect as the state tries to reduce the number of fatalities on state roads. In 2021, there were 400 road deaths. From 2020 to 2021, there was an increase in pedestrian fatalities from 56 to 63. There was an improvement in bicyclist safety with the number dropping to six from nine.
The fatality total was the worst in more than a decade. The numbers for 2022 are still being compiled and analyzed, but for the first six months, the Massachusetts Department of Transportation says there were 175 fatalities.
Even with new safety rules, people should know their rights after an accident
Safety initiatives aside, there is a constant danger of injuries and loss of life in motor vehicle accidents. Even if most drivers follow these new rules, there will continue to be some who ignore them.
Whether it is due to distracted driving, speeding, drivers who are under the influence, recklessness or other misbehaviors, people’s lives can be dramatically changed from a crash. Lost companionship, the need to care for a loved one, medical costs, the inability to work and more can come up. For assistance in investigating an accident and moving forward with legal options, it is essential to have experienced advice.