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Distracted Trucker Heading to Boston Slams into Amtrak Train Causing Fiery Accident

A fatal accident between the Amtrak Downeaster and a tractor-trailer is being blamed on a distracted truck driver. Officials believe that the driver was operating a mobile communication device when the collision happened just south of Portland as he was heading to Boston, according to Bangor Daily News. In the fiery collision, the truck driver was killed and several others were injured.
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Our Boston personal injury attorneys understand just how dangerous using a cell phone or a text messaging device while driving can be. Unfortunately, there are many motorists who are unaware of these dangers, or fail to recognize them, and continue to put innocent residents in serious danger. To help combat this problem, the state of Massachusetts has enacted a law prohibiting drivers from texting at the wheel. As for talking on a cell phone, only drivers under the age of 18 and bus drivers have been banned, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

According to distraction.gov, there were about 5,500 people killed in 2009 in the United States because of car accidents in Massachusetts and elsewhere that involved a distracted driver. Another 500,000 people were injured. These accidents accounted for about 20 percent of all of the accidents that were reported to have resulted in injury. Of distracted driving-related accidents, nearly 1,000 reports concluded that the use of a cell phone was the driver’s distraction. These types of accidents are becoming more and more frequent as technology continues to advance.

Officials looked into the truck driver’s GPS records, phone records and the records of other electronic equipment after the fatal Maine accident. They believe that a distraction was the most plausible reason as to why the truck, which was carrying about 20 tons of trash, was unable to stop for the passing train in time.

“The cause of this crash is driver inattention/distraction,” said North Berwick Police Lt. James Moulton, according to a press release.

According to accident reports, the garbage truck skidded for about 200 feet before colliding with the passing train, which burst into flames. Four train passengers and two Amtrak employees were injured. Police reports also indicate that the crossing’s gates and lights were working properly when the accident occurred.

The Downeaster was traveling with more than 100 passengers at about 70 mph when the accident happened.

Distracted driving habits are typically caused by three characteristics: visual, cognitive and manual. All three are required to safely navigate your way through congested city streets. Cell phone, text messaging devices and other hand-held devices all take a driver’s attention on our roadway. All of these activities greatly increase your risks of being involved in a motor vehicle accident. These risks can also be greatly reduced by simply putting down the phone. Help to make our roads a safer place.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a Boston car or trucking accident in Massachusetts, contact Boston Injury Attorney Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 877-617-5333.

Additional Resources:

Trucker may have been texting or talking on phone before Amtrak collision, David Sharp, Bangor Daily News
More Blog Entries:

Train Accident Shuts Down AmTrack Trips between Boston and New York, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, August 5, 2011

Distracted driving laws aim to prevent Massachusetts truck and bus accidents, traffic accidents by employees on the job
, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, October 11, 2010