Articles Posted in Auto Accidents

photo_39856_20150805-300x199Rhode Island traffic fatalities are at their highest since 2008, with 83 traffic related fatalities seen in the state in 2017. This is a jump from 51 traffic deaths seen in 2016 and 2014 in Rhode Island. Ironically, 2015 saw the lowest number of traffic fatalities in RI, 45, since 1992 according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). With increased auto safety features and public awareness campaigns about safer driving practices, one would expect to continually see a decrease in injuries and deaths from car accidents each year. So, it is alarming to see an uptick of 63% in just one year. As Providence car accident lawyers who see first-hand the pain and trauma caused to the injured and families of auto accident victims, we are left wondering why the increase in motor vehicle fatalities in 2017?

Reasons for Increase in RI Traffic Fatalities

Just as there are a multitude of reasons for car crashes, there are many causes for fatal car accidents and not one cause can be pinpointed. Although we do know that drunk driving, speeding, and distracted driving top the list of causes all over the country. Colonel Ann C. Assumpico, the commanding officer of the Rhode Island State Police, will not cite a particular reason for the increased number of RI traffic deaths but emphasizes the importance of drivers being vigilant about driving under the influence of drugs or alcohol, wearing seat belts, and avoiding distractions like cell phones. As many Rhode Islanders know, cell phone usage while driving with be outlawed as of June 2018 in Rhode Island. Though we can not predict if this will realize a decrease in traffic fatalities, it may bring extra awareness to the serious issue of distracted driving.

photo_894_20060124-300x200The holidays are a wonderful time in New England and a great time to catch up with friends and family at the myriad of parties and events hosted this time of year. When alcohol is involved though, sometimes the party can get dangerous. Between Christmas and New Year’s, AAA reports two to three times more deaths from alcohol-related crashes than any other time of the year. Fatalities like these are particularly unsettling considering drinking and driving is completely preventable.  Throughout the year, approximately one-third of all auto accident deaths involve alcohol-impaired drivers. This amounts to an average of one alcohol-related driving death every 45 minutes. As Providence car accident injury lawyers, Tapalian Law sees victims hurt every day in car crashes, however these statistics are still startling and serve as a reminder to us all to enjoy the holidays, but do so safely.  Don’t add yourself to these sobering statistics.

Cutting Down on Rhode Island Drunk Drivers

Rhode Island is serious about cracking down on drunk driving. In 2016, the Rhode Island State Police launched a new sober driving campaign dubbed “Beyond the Crash”. The campaign’s message is similar to the Drive Sober or Get Pulled Over campaign created years back and many Rhode Islanders recognize the popular slogan. During designated periods, typically during the holidays when drunk driving accident fatalities increase, the RIDOT works with state and local police to create patrols with the specific goal of cracking down on drinking and driving. Most alcohol-related car crashes occur during the evening hours and on weekends.

photo_39111_20150703-300x208In our tech-savvy society, we constantly want faster and better technology. Automakers scramble to keep up with continually updated tech demands by cramming more intricate technology options into our vehicles. Cars used to have only a small number of buttons and knobs. Now, automakers have upped the ante by adding as many as 50 buttons on the steering wheel and dashboard that have multiple functions. As injury lawyers assisting car accident victims, Tapalian Law can easily see how this could increase the levels of distracted driving and realize an increase in car accidents caused by distracted drivers.

Study Shows GPS & Texting Most Distracting Driving Behaviors

Programming a destination into a built-in GPS system takes drivers an average of 40 seconds and is said to be the most distracting activity for a driver based on a study by AAA’s Foundation for Traffic Safety. At a rate of 25mph, a vehicle can travel the length of four football fields during that short 40 second spurt. As Providence car accident injury lawyers, Tapalian Law knows prior research shows that the risk of a crash doubles when drivers take their eyes away from the road for only two seconds.  Texting was the second-most distracting task performed in the study. Although guidelines recommend that automakers prevent texting from being available while driving, in two-thirds of the 2017 vehicles tested, the test drivers could text while driving. Motorists already have a multitude of distractions in the car, and not just texting and GPS systems. Eating, drinking, changing the radio station, and chatting with passengers can all be distractions to a driver.

photo_39856_20150805-300x199On October 6th, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released fatal crash data for 2016. NHTSA data reports a 5.6% rise in traffic fatalities from 2015. Collected from all 50 states and the District of Columbia, data shows that 37,461 lives were lost on U.S. roads and highways in 2016 and equates to 102 traffic related fatalities, per day. An enormous 94% of serious crashes are related to human error, or human choice. At Tapalian Law, we are personal injury lawyers who pride ourselves on fighting hard to help victims of auto accidents in Providence and the surrounding communities. We make it our duty to seek the just compensation our personal injury clients deserve.

Drunk Driving Crashes Continue to Cause Biggest Number of Fatalities

It comes as no surprise that the biggest culprit of auto accidents deaths is drunk driving, as this has long been the trend. Speeding-related crash fatalities closely follow behind drunk driving deaths. The NHTSA continually creates programs with the goal of expanding awareness of the acute risk of driving while impaired by alcohol or drugs. Alcohol-related fatalities in 2016 continue to account for a third of all motor vehicle deaths, following the trends of 2015 and 2014. Astoundingly, these accidents accounted for 10,497 deaths in the U.S. in 2016. This is especially tragic as drunk driving crashes are completely preventable. Impaired motorcycle drivers with a blood alcohol content (BAC) of .08 or higher accounted for the type of vehicle most frequently involved in these types of accidents, followed closely by passenger cars and light trucks. The age groups most often responsible for these fatal alcohol-related accidents were ages 21-24 and ages 25-34.

photo_61182_20160204-300x262The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill last week that would speed the introduction of self-driving cars to the road. Following a rise in deadly car crashes in recent years after a decline, proponents say that self-driving vehicles could help remove the human error factor that causes about 94% of fatal car crashes in the U.S. each year. As personal injury attorneys who help injured car accident victims daily and see the gravity of serious vehicle accidents, we realize finding a way to eliminate the bulk of car crashes, collisions and related injuries and deaths would be tremendous. Police in Providence and throughout Rhode Island respond to vehicle accidents with injured victims multiple times a day due to distracted driving and human error. Is it really possible to remove all human error from driving with self-driving cars and greatly lessen crashes and save lives?


The SELF DRIVE Act (Safely Ensuring Lives Future Deployment and Research in Vehicle Evolution) passed through the House with a two-thirds vote. In summary, the proposed bill would give the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) the power to regulate the design, construction, and performance, of self-driving vehicles. The NHTSA is responsible for doing so now for driver-operated vehicles.  Individual states, including Rhode Island and Massachusetts, would keep the authority to dictate vehicle registration and licensing. The NHTSA would be given a timeline to come up with safety rules and performance standards that automakers must meet for the autonomous vehicles. The vehicle manufacturers would be required to provide a plan for how its passenger’s privacy would be protected- for example, where does the passenger travel to each day and what are its driving style preferences? How will this information be kept private? The legislation would also increase on a yearly basis the number of autonomous cars that are able to travel and be tested on public roads.

file0001704977235-300x225Rhode Island has taken a big step toward protecting young children. The Rhode Island House of Representatives recently passed legislation to require young children under the age of two, or weighing less than 30 pounds, to ride in rear-facing car seats in vehicles. The bill will now move onto the Rhode Island Senate, where it is supported by the Senate President, as well as Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), AAA, American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), Lifespan, and the RI State Police. With these substantial supporters, it is hopeful the bill will pass and go a long way in helping to protect Rhode Island’s youngest. At Tapalian Law, personal injury attorney David Tapalian feels strongly about supporting legislation that can protect victims from vehicle accident injuries, especially the youngest ones who rely on us to keep them safe. Car accident injuries can be especially damaging to children’s small bodies making it even more important to take every safety measure possible to keep them protected.

Current Rhode Island Child Car Seat Law

If this bill passes, Rhode Island would join California, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Oklahama, in making rear facing car seats a requirement for kids under two. It has long been recommended by safety experts to keep small children in rear facing car seats as long as possible, but by making it a requirement, Rhode Islanders will now be required to follow this advice or face fines. Current RI Child Car Seat Belt Law requires the following for children:


It is easy to see why so many people choose Martha’s Vineyard as a vacation destination — it is a gorgeous place to relax and unwind. Unfortunately, it is also easy to see how a driver could cause a rear-end accident because he or she is distracted by the scenery.

Distracted driving is one of the most common reasons for rear-end accidents. When you add an unfamiliar location where people are busy looking at the sights outside of the car windows or busy trying to read road signs or look for landmarks to help guide them to their final destination to the other common distractions that cause accidents, rear-end accidents can be common. If you are injured in a Martha’s Vineyard accident, call our RI & MA rear-end accident attorneys at


for a free legal consultation.


Thousands of people are injured in motor vehicle accidents throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island each year. Massachusetts and Rhode Island require drivers to carry liability insurance to protect others in the event the driver causes a motor vehicle accident. Liability insurance pays damages to victims of a car accident when a driver is responsible for the crash.

Just like all other states, Rhode Island and Massachusetts set minimum insurance requirements for all drivers.

In Rhode Island, drivers must purchase the following insurance coverage:


In the past, vehicles were designed to provide safety to passengers in a collision. Airbags and seat belts are examples of safety features car designers added to vehicles to help reduce the risk of serious injury and death. Today’s manufacturers and engineers are focused on preventing accidents in addition to reducing the risk of injury in an accident. Some of the latest advances in the automotive manufacturing field help save lives by providing alerts to the driver before an accident occurs. Below are four of the latest technologies you can find on new vehicle models that are focused on preventing collisions.

  1. Adaptive Headlights

Headlights have changed over the years to improve visibility. The latest trend is a design that changes directions to increase lighting around hills and curves. Adaptive headlights also adjust the intensity of light when the vehicle is in traffic to reduce glare for the driver. The benefit for drivers is that they can see road hazards sooner and be alerted to pedestrians after night.


People make all kinds of New Year’s resolutions from losing weight to improving their finances. Even though almost half of Americans admit they make New Year’s resolutions, only about eight percent of those individuals will keep their resolutions and reach their goals.

One resolution that every driver should make and keep is to become a safe driver in 2017. There are far too many motor vehicle accidents each year in the United States. Thousands of people are killed and injured each month throughout the country. If every driver would resolve to break bad driving habits, we could reduce the number of tragic car accidents. Below are several New Year’s resolutions that can help you become a safer driver in 2017.

  • I Resolve to Wear My Seat Belt – 

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