Massachusetts road deaths on pace to be highest in more than a decade

Lindsay Neubeck just moved here from New Jersey and already has an opinion on the drivers.

“I have never seen so many accidents in my life,” she said.

Sean Sullivan just moved to Maine and says there is no comparison.

“Get off your phone, people throwing iced coffees,” he said. “I have seen that. I’ve been a part of it.”

Whether they are coming from New Jersey or Maine, the drivers we spoke to say nothing compares to Massachusetts drivers.

“I’ve seen some cars flipped on the commute, like, what happened man?” said Neubeck.

MassDOT agrees. In Thursday’s meeting, members discussed the more than 400 roadway deaths the state had In 2021, which is the highest in more than 11 years and 22 percent higher than in 2020.

Preliminary numbers for 2022 are already worse. Even motorcyclist deaths are at a 25-year high.

“I’ve seen people driving 90-100 miles per hour, shifting lanes,” said Leominster Mayor Dean Mazzarella. “The speeds people are traveling, and aggressiveness, I realize distracted driving is responsible for a lot of accidents, but I have never seen anything like this. I’m not sure if it’s a result of the pandemic.”

MassDOT says it reviews every single fatality that happens.

“On any street or road in the commonwealth, no matter who owns it,” said Secretary of Transportation and MassDOT CEO Jamey L. Tesler. “It’s an opportunity to learn and do better every single time, so we are not going to rest until we stop and reverse these trends.”

“Maybe the reason is COVID is kind of over and more people are on the roads,” said Neubeck. “I think that’s one, and people not totally being used to being back in public. But also there are more distractions, and I think people are also getting road rage.”

Most of these tips you already know, but with these numbers, MassDOT says it’s worth repeating.

When it comes to motorcyclist awareness, drivers should: “look twice, save a life.”

All drivers should wear a seatbelt, drive sober, drive hands-free, and travel at or below the posted speed limit.

And pedestrians should be visible and use crosswalks.

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