Articles Posted in Safety

9a90a86c2ae2d5864366b3108eeff17a-300x200Recently completed, a two-way protected bike lane on South Water Street is facing both wide support as well as opposition from local residents, businesses, and city officials.  Part of Providence’s Great Street Initiative, which proposed adding 60 miles of bike lanes, the new bike lane debuted this fall with an aim of making the city streets safer and more environmentally friendly. The majority of bike accidents take place in urban areas, and as a personal injury lawyer in Providence, Attorney David Tapalian understands the danger bicyclists and pedestrians face when sharing the road with cars, trucks, and SUV’s. A bike is no match for a heavy motor vehicle and a collision between the two will all too often result in severe injury, or death, for the bicyclist.

Part of Providence Great Streets Initiative

Dubbed by supporters as an “urban trail”, the two-way lane on South Water Street can be used by bicycles and other non-car modes of transportation, such as scooters. Ideally, it will allow a safer mode of transportation for, and reduce the risk of injury to, bicyclists and other pedestrians. In addition to improved safety, supporters tout health and climate benefits as well as the project’s ability to attract people to the city and improve the quality of life for residents. Having a safer option for those seeking alternative modes of transportation to work or school, as well as those seeking to use the lane for recreation or exercise will allow users to explore more environmentally friendly options.

m_sailboat_toward_verrazano_narrows_bridge-2-300x234It’s not uncommon to see drivers speeding down the highway throughout the state; an unfortunate fact that Attorney David Tapalian sees the repercussions of first-hand as a personal injury lawyer in Rhode Island for over two decades.  Precariously, the speeding trend also applies to bridges, specifically the Newport Pell and Jamestown Verrazzano Bridges, as shown in a study by the Rhode Island Turnpike and Bridge Administration late this summer. Perhaps partially triggered by safety concerns and complaints of loud traffic noise by locals, the study conducted an investigation to determine how many vehicles operated according to the posted speed limits on the bridges and the results were startling. On the Pell Bridge, 70% of people were found to be driving at least 11 miles per hour over the speed limit and 66% of vehicles were doing the same on the Verrazzano Bridge. For context, the speed limit for the Pell Bridge is 40mph, but the average speed people drove was 53mph. The Verrazzano Bridge speed limit is 45mph, but vehicles were travelling 59mph, on average.

Car Accidents on Bridges 

Bridges can already be a hazardous place for drivers before speeding is added into the mix. When a motorist drives across any bridge, they are placing their trust in the engineers, architects, and construction workers who designed and built the structure. Errors can result in structural failures, even a whole infrastructure collapse. If bridges aren’t regularly inspected for safety hazards, they can incur damage that, if left unrepaired, could result in a treacherous situation. For example, if two cars collide in an accident near the edge of a bridge with a missing or damaged guardrail, it’s possible for one or both vehicles to fall off the side into the water or highway below. Visibility can also be difficult on bridges without adequate lighting, making it difficult for motorists to visualize their surroundings. In addition, car accidents on bridges frequently occur at the entrance or exit ramps, especially if there is inadequate signage or a tricky merge with other vehicles.

DSCN5905-300x225With the beautiful Fall weather and rise in temperature over the summer months, motorcycle riders and bicyclists have taken to the streets to enjoy the open air. More than a year into a pandemic, people are increasingly more comfortable being out and itching to do so. Unfortunately, Rhode Island has also seen an increase in the amount of motorcycle accidents in the state over the past few months. As of August, Rhode Island experienced 10 fatal motorcycle crashes.  In fact, these types of collisions are about one-third of the total vehicle accident deaths in the state. In comparison, past years have seen approximately 13 motorcycle fatalities in total.  As a personal injury lawyer in Providence, RI, for over 20 years, Attorney David Tapalian has seen the complete devastation suffered by families after a losing a loved one in a tragic, and too often preventable, motorcycle accident and wants all drivers to increase their awareness of this serious safety concern. With months still left to go in 2021, it’s important for both motorcyclists and other drivers on the road to take note.

Importance of Wearing a Helmet

Plenty of data shows that wearing a helmet can significantly increase your chances of surviving a motorcycle accident, as well as minimize the severity of the injuries suffered. This is one simple step, yet a very critical one, that motorcyclists can take to protect themselves from potentially life-threatening injury. Motorcyclists are less protected than those travelling in cars and therefore, are more prone to serious and life-altering injuries if involved in a collision. Sadly, the majority of motorcyclists who were killed in crashes this year in Rhode Island were not wearing helmets, according to Peter Alviti, Director of the Rhode Island Department of Transportation.

m_Tesla_1-203x300Tesla is well-known for their innovations in the electric vehicle industry, notably their Autopilot system technology. Autopilot is not designed to be used solely without human input; however, many users treat it that way which has resulted in a rash of deadly accidents, and legal action, against the enormously lucrative company. Tesla claims their systems are designed to reduce automobile crashes caused by human error and distractions, which account for a majority of the roughly 40,000 traffic fatalities in the U.S. each year. However, the NHTSA has a dozen active investigations into crashes involving this assistive driving technology, and recently released a list of at least 10 fatalities from crashes involving Autopilot since 2016.

While Autopilot can help control certain aspects of driving the car, such as changing lanes, the driver must still maintain awareness of their surroundings despite stories of drivers that fall asleep at the wheel or read a book while relying on the vehicle technology to make decisions for them. These actions are dangerous as the system is not meant to be self-driving and can result in serious injuries, or death, to both the driver and innocent motorists, pedestrians, or bicyclists. Attorney David Tapalian is an experienced personal injury lawyer who helps victims of car accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts, including those crashes caused by a negligent or distracted driver.  If you’ve been the victim of a dangerous auto accident, call 401-552-5000 to see how Tapalian Law can help you hold the negligent driver liable for your injuries.

Recent Tesla Accidents 

file0001452955445-2-300x179Driving the roads of Rhode Island at night and another car is coming toward you in the opposite direction, do you ever feel like you’re being blinded by the other vehicle’s headlights? Typically, we blame it on the other driver forgetting to turn off their high beams, but lately it seems to happen more often with just regular headlight use. After a blinding encounter like this, sometimes it can take more than 10 seconds for your eyes to readjust. As Providence personal injury lawyer David Tapalian knows, taking your eyes off the road for even a mere few seconds can be the difference between getting home safely and being involved in a serious night-time car accident.

You may find it reassuring to know that these seemingly brighter headlights are not just your imagination. There’s no denying the automotive industry has made tremendous safety improvements over the years, including improvements in lighting technology. Sometimes, however, these enhancements lead to an alternative problem, for instance the blinding glare of LED and high-intensity headlights. There are various reasons for these brighter lights causing a dangerous distraction to drivers, one being the prevalence of SUV’s and tall pickups, as well as small, short cars. The physical placement of headlights on a taller vehicle, such as an SUV, are going to be mounted higher and when the lights shine towards a shorter car, it can be directly into the driver’s eyes. Complaints of blinding glare from these headlights have increased greatly, according to the NHTSA. Being that over half of the nation’s motor vehicle accidents happen in the dark, as a personal injury law firm helping Rhode Island car accident victims, we feel it’s a crucial element for drivers to be aware of. 

Reasons for the Blinding Glare

m_woman-treadmill-run-silhouette-300x193Driven by the demand for at-home workout equipment during the pandemic, Peloton, maker of the popular exercise bikes and at-home fitness machines, experienced a huge boost in sales of their products and quadrupled their stock value.  That may soon change. This week, the company issued a recall of its Tread+ and Tread treadmills. The recall arrives amidst reports of dozens of injuries, and the death of a young child, associated with the company’s machines.

In March, a 6-year-old boy died in an accident involving a Peloton treadmill. At Tapalian Law, as personal injury lawyers, we know there is never a way to make sense of a death from a devastating accident, and it can seem perhaps even more tragic and senseless when it involves a child. Sadly, childhood injuries from accidents are the number one cause of death in kids under the age of 19, according to the CDC.

In April, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission issued an “urgent warning” to owners of the treadmills to stop using them immediately. The warning came after the commission received 72 reports stating adults, children, pets, and objects had been pulled under the rear of the machine. Of the 72 reports, 29 involved children, including the death of the young boy. At the time, Peloton fought back against the agency’s request calling it “inaccurate” but has since apologized, acknowledged its wrongdoing, and issued the equipment recalls.

m_DSC_1977-2-300x253The use of recreational vehicles in Rhode Island, specifically ATV’s, has long been a contentious topic. This past January, an ATV incident came to light when a Cranston police officer tackled a motorcyclist who had pushed him. The police officer was then surrounded by a group of ATV riders and assaulted by an accompanying motorcyclist. The Cranston police chief has vowed to strengthen action taken on all-terrain vehicles and other similar unlicensed vehicles.

All-terrain vehicles, commonly known as ATV’s, are classified as recreational vehicles and their use has been an issue of concern for years to local residents throughout Rhode Island and police alike, who field complaints concerning the loud noise created by the ATV’s and, more importantly, the unsafe and improper operation of the recreational vehicles. Injuries incurred in a collision with an ATV can be serious and especially dangerous to children.

ATV Laws in Rhode Island

m_1834262-169x300At some point each day, most of us are a pedestrian, especially as we try to increase our time outdoors, and distance from others, amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Some stroll or jog for exercise, walk to school, to work, or to pick up lunch. Others are walking the dog or pushing a stroller. Being a pedestrian is a typical part of our day, especially in walkable cities like Providence, where sidewalks and pedestrian bridges are easily accessible to those on foot. Unfortunately, however, the rate of pedestrians killed in traffic crashes is at its highest in almost 20 years. According to the most recent data, 6,283 pedestrian fatalities were recorded in 2018. As a personal injury lawyer in Providence RI, Attorney David Tapalian has helped countless victims of pedestrian accidents seek compensation for their losses after they were injured by a reckless driver. Having seen such devastating injuries as a result of these often-preventable incidents, at Tapalian Law we were pleased to see the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) announce this October as the first National Pedestrian Safety Month.

The goal of Pedestrian Safety Month is to increase awareness of pedestrian safety to both drivers and walkers alike. With daylight savings time on the horizon, daylight hours will decrease and pedestrians will be outside when its darker, increasing the risk for a potential accident. During the months of September to February, over 30% of pedestrian fatalities occur between the hours of 6:00pm and 8:59pm, according to the NHTSA.

Safety is a Shared Responsibility

m_FRS330355-300x199Sales of boats and personal water craft like jet skis have experienced a boost this year in Rhode Island, a likely side effect of the Covid-19 pandemic. With social distancing in full effect and vacations put on hold, locals are looking for outdoor leisure activities to bring some pleasure and family-friendly activity to an otherwise disheartening summer. Like purchasing a bike lately, finding a boat to buy is tough with demand in high gear. With the boost in traffic on the water in the ocean, local ponds, and lakes, public officials are seeing a corresponding surge in boat accidents in Rhode Island and Massachusetts resulting in injuries and deaths. As a personal injury lawyer at Tapalian Law, this time of year is typically busy with car accidents due to summer travel. This summer, however, is different and we are seeing higher than average numbers of people injured in accidents and boat collisions on the water.

Causes of Boat Accidents

Known as the Ocean State, Rhode Island is always a popular summer destination for boaters. In particular Newport, Narragansett, Jamestown, Block Island, and other coastal cities and towns, experience high water traffic in the summer as do areas of Massachusetts, like Cape Cod. Sales of boats, jet skis, and other personal water craft have surged this summer due to the pandemic – their use also made more attractive by a decline in fuel prices.  Water traffic collisions and mishaps are prevalent each summer, but more so this year. Negligent behavior accounts for a significant portion of boating related injuries and fatalities, similar to the cause of the majority of car accident cases seen as a personal injury attorney. This uptick in boat accidents and water rescues can be attributed primarily not only to the increase in water traffic, but the use of alcohol, drugs, and inexperience.

WP_20140617_014-300x169Under very tragic circumstances, a 15-month-old toddler died last week after sustaining injuries from a dog bite attack in East Providence. The young girl suffered significant injuries resulting from a “pit bull type” dog and was transported to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence, where she died shortly after. Two adults were also hurt, less seriously, while trying to intervene. This is an extremely heartbreaking and shocking situation to hear about, especially for an innocent child. As personal injury lawyers in Rhode Island, it unfortunately has similarities to dog bite injuries that we encounter with clients of all ages on a regular basis.

What many people don’t realize is that bites can happen with any type of dog, even the normally sweet family dog.  Many of these injuries are minor, in fact, the majority of dog bites don’t require medical care. However, statistics show that when attacks are inflicted by certain breeds, such as pit-bulls, they result in more severe damage, critical injuries, and fatalities. While injuries can occur with any type of dog, 76% of dog bite fatalities involve pit bulls and rottweilers.  Pit-bull’s, the type of breed involved in the East Providence incident, account for 66% of these deaths. The most frequent victims of canine aggression include kids, the elderly, and postal service workers.

Dog Bites & Children

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