Frequent Lane Change Truck Accident Lawyers in Boston, MA
Changing lanes is an inherent part of navigating traffic, whether cruising a stretch of highway or making a way through stop-and-go urban traffic. A lane change is a driving maneuver wherein a vehicle moves from one lane to another in the same direction. However, it’s been known to cause serious truck accidents when lane changes are frequent or aggressive.
It’s a driving behavior that usually depends on the kinetics of multiple vehicles, and to do it successfully, drivers of all vehicles in both lanes need to be paying sharp attention. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, it’s estimated some 240,000 to 610,000 lane change crashes occur every year.
Given that the number of heavy vehicles on U.S. roads has risen 70 percent in the last four decades, we know a significant number of frequent lane change crashes involve large trucks.
Excessive lane changing is when drivers weave in and out of traffic,
At The Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman, our Boston truck accident lawyers know that unsafe driver actions cause 7 in 10 fatal large truck crashes – and frequent lane changes can be a critical factor. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration, noting that heavy vehicle-related crashes are consistently the No. 1 cause of occupational deaths, has called for more public awareness on how to share lanes safely with large trucks.Why Truck Drivers Engage in Frequent Lane Changing
Excessive lane changing is a form of aggressive driving and it’s incredibly dangerous – especially when it’s the driver of a large commercial vehicle doing it.
Most instances of frequent lane changes are due to drivers trying to reach their destination faster. Truck drivers especially are under intense pressure to make their deliveries as quickly as possible.
But the reality is, constantly changing lanes rarely if ever gets anyone to where they’re going markedly faster. In fact, it may ensure some road users never get there at all. In some experiments, lane-changing drivers may have shaved a minute or two from their commute – but they put their lives and everyone else’s in jeopardy to do it.
So why do people keep weaving through traffic to get their faster when it’s incredibly hazardous AND we have clear data showing it doesn’t work anyway?
It’s all based on the illusion that cars in the adjacent lane are moving faster, even when both lanes have the same average speed. Research published in the journal Nature opined this has to do with the fact that drivers spend more time being overtaken by other vehicles than doing the overtaking – especially in congested traffic conditions. Plus, drivers spend more time looking ahead than behind, so overtaken vehicles “disappear” faster than those that are overtaking. In stop-and-go conditions, drivers’ eyes are drawn to adjacent lanes more intensely than their own.
Not only does weaving back and forth between lanes NOT get one to their destination any faster, it puts the lives of drivers, passengers and other road users at risk.
In their rush, drivers constantly switching lanes often fail to use turn signals, check blind spots and ensure they can merge or turn safely.
In many cases that lead to a crash, the car ahead of the lane-changing vehicle brakes suddenly.Massachusetts Lane Change Laws for Motorists
Federal statute requires every commercial motor vehicle to be operated in accordance with the laws, ordinances and regulations of the jurisdiction where it is being operated – except where Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Code imposes a higher standard of care, in which case the more stringent regulation must be followed.
In Massachusetts, lane change rules are clear.
- Firstly, MGL Ch. 89 § 2 states that drivers traveling in the same direction can pass on the left of another vehicle and are prohibited from returning to the right lane until the overtaken vehicle is safely cleared. Leading drivers are barred from unnecessarily blocking the other driver or increasing their speed immediately after the other driver has overtaken them.
- Secondly, MGL Ch. 89 § 4C holds that on any highway with more than one passing lane in the same direction, heavy trucks (those in excess of 2.5 tons and used for transportation of goods, wares and merchandise) are required to keep right during ordinary operation. When they overtake and pass other vehicles, truckers are restricted to the next passing lane – except in an emergency.
- Thirdly, MGL Ch. 90 § 14B requires all motorists making “any turning movement that would affect the operation of any other vehicles” to give a plainly visible signal of this by activating brake lights or direction lights or other signal as provided on the vehicle.
- Finally, per MGL Ch. 89 § 4, whenever any vehicle is on any type of road where the view is obstructed for at least 400 feet, the vehicles are required to keep to the right or middle lanes where it’s safe to do so. Slow-moving drivers should always keep to the extreme right lane.
Drivers can be cited for a “marked lane violation” for breaking these rules, though it’s considered a minor moving violation. If there is no crash, the penalties usually aren’t that serious (which may be part of why people still do it all the time, despite the law). If a big rig driver commits a marked lane violation and causes a Boston truck accident, they, their employer and the owner of that vehicle may face civil liability for that negligence.
Truckers who cause traffic crashes with frequent lane changes should be held to account. Our Boston truck accident lawyers can help you determine whether you have a case and identify all defendants.
If a trucker caused a crash with frequent lane changes – or if another aggressive driver caused the truck to strike you – you will want to explore all avenues for possible compensation.
Contact the Law Offices of Jeffrey S. Glassman today for a free and confidential consultation.
Call (617) 367-2900 – NO FEE UNLESS SUCCESSFUL