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Thursday, January 20, 2022

Massachusetts Road Deaths Highest Since 2009

Massachusetts had more deaths on its roads in 2021 than in any year since 2009.  According to a new report from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, four hundred and eight people died on Massachusetts road last year, including drivers, passengers, bicyclists, and pedestrians.  This death total is nineteen percent higher than the 2020 total of 343 fatalities.

There are many explanations for this increase in fatalities.  Beginning in April of 2020, there was an increase of reckless driving and speeding which was explained by the Covid-19 pandemic emptying roadways which used to home congested streets.  In April of 2020, the rate of speeding tickets issued to drivers allegedly traveling more than one hundred miles per hour increased almost seven-fold, even as the total citations dropped by ninety percent.

People felt more confident on the road to drive aggressively because there was no traffic to contend with.  Now that traffic has returned closer to normal, people that had gotten used to not being stuck in traffic or driving at higher rates of speed appear to be driving more aggressively and are taking more risks that have led to a sharp increase in road deaths.

In addition to deaths caused by automobiles, there was also a dramatic increase in motorcycle deaths in 2021.  The number of deaths caused by motorcycle operators and passengers increased thirty-eight percent in 2021.

In addition to changed behaviors in driving from the Covid-19 pandemic, there are other theories as to why deaths are on the rise.  Non-compliance with Massachusetts hands free laws is a big problem.  In addition, Massachusetts las does not allow police to make traffic stops solely for seat-belt infractions.  It is estimated that Massachusetts has only a seventy-eight percent compliance rate with seatbelt laws (as compared to a state like Connecticut which has a mid-nineties percent compliance as police can make stops solely based on seatbelt compliance).  Of note, the increase in speeding and roadway deaths occurred at the same time legal marijuana increased in popularity.

Whatever the cause, there does not seem to be any indication of a downward trend at the moment.  Be careful out there.  If you or a loved one has been involved in an automobile accident, it is important to consult a personal injury attorney quickly.  Insurance companies will aggressively request information from you, including a recorded statement, which may impact a potential claim.

If you have any questions regarding automobile accidents or personal injury law, please feel free to contact the Law Offices of Samuel S. Reidy for a free consultation.

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