Press Release

Press Release MassDOT Safety Advisory: Drive Slower, Drive Hands-Free, “Look Twice to save a Life”, Wear A Seatbelt

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation, Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety & Security, Massachusetts State Police, law enforcement & transportation partners hosted a safety event today due to an alarming rise in roadway fatalities.
For immediate release:
6/08/2022
  • Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles

Media Contact for MassDOT Safety Advisory: Drive Slower, Drive Hands-Free, “Look Twice to save a Life”, Wear A Seatbelt

Drive Slower, Drive Hands-Free,

“Look Twice to save a Life”, Wear A Seatbelt

Reminders being issued by MassDOT, EOPSS,

Massachusetts State Police and Transportation Partners

 

BOSTON– The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT), Massachusetts Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS), Massachusetts State Police (MSP), law enforcement and transportation partners hosted a safety event today due to an alarming rise in roadway fatalities.

Roadway fatalities in Massachusetts and across the nation increased in calendar year 2021, a year when traffic volume was still not at levels seen before the pandemic.  In 2021, Massachusetts had more than 400 roadway deaths—the highest amount in more than 11 years and 22% higher than in 2020. Preliminary numbers for 2022 show an increase in roadway deaths compared with the same period in 2021. 

As the summer travel season begins and more people are bicycling and walking due to warmer weather, officials today urged everyone to pay attention and think safety.  Deaths and injuries due to crashes are preventable if drivers and members of the public exercise caution: use crosswalks, signal when turning, wear a helmet, wear a seatbelt, travel on trips with your phone put away, drive sober and limit distractions in vehicles.

  • Motorcyclists: Motorcyclist deaths are at a 25-year high. MassDOT urges drivers to “look twice, save a life” and check for motorcyclists while sharing the road. Motorcyclists must also be vigilant; in 2021, 41% of motorcycle fatal crashes were single-motorcycle crashes. Motorcyclists are urged to take a training course through the state-sponsored Rider Education Program (MREP) to increase rider skills and safety on the road.
  • Seatbelts: Wearing a seatbelt as a front-seat passenger can limit your chances of moderate to fatal injury by 50% and limit your chances of dying by 45%. Wear your seatbelt—it could save your life. Drivers tell your passengers they must wear a seat belt. 
  • Pedestrians: Pedestrian deaths, particularly of older pedestrians, are significantly increased. Drivers are urged to slow down and “Scan the Street for Wheels and Feet” to be mindful of pedestrians and bicyclists on the roadways. Speed matters; each 1 mph increase that a person drives can be attributed to a 3% increase in potential loss of life. When a driver in a car traveling at 20 mph strikes a pedestrian, there is a 13% probability of a fatal or serious injury for the pedestrian; however that probability increases to 40% at 30 mph, and 73% at 40 mph. 
  • Distracted driving: In the United States, about eight people die daily due to car crashes involving a distracted driver. Governor Charlie Baker signed the Hands-Free Law in November of 2019 and it took effect in February of 2020 to curb distracted driving – making it illegal to operate a motor vehicle with electronic devices while driving unless the technology is being used hands-free. 
  • Young drivers: Young drivers are at a higher risk for crashes and dangerous driving, and the probability of crashes increases significantly when teens drive with other teens. MassDOT encourages parents to be good role models, talk to teens about safety, and support young people as they are learning to drive and after receiving their license.

MassDOT is taking several actions to increase roadway safety and work toward achieving zero deaths on roadways:

  • Safe System Approach: MassDOT is adopting the Safe System Approach toward achieving zero deaths on our roadways. A safe system encourages safe roads, safer road users, safe vehicles, post-crash care, and safe speeds.
  • Investing in bicycle-friendly roadways: Massachusetts was ranked # 1 for the first time by a non-profit which issues a yearly report card.  The League of American Bicyclists 2022 report card gave Massachusetts the grade of “A” in the categories: Infrastructure & Funding, Education & Encouragement, and Policies & Programs.  MassDOT is increasing investments and projects dedicated to building sidewalks, bicycle facilities, safe crossings, etc.  MassDOT has increased funding to municipal grant programs to support communities in building infrastructure to keep people safe whether they are walking, bicycling or taking public transportation.
  • Speed Management policy: MassDOT has a robust Speed Management Policy and “Safe Speeds” website, which was released this year as guidance to communities in the Commonwealth. These resources are provided to municipalities with information on speed management and opportunities to seek grant funding to implement speed control measures.
  • Establishing target speeds: The state has been working to establish target speeds.  With input from city and town officials and MassDOT partners, conversations are taking place to determine what the safe speed should be for certain roadways.

MassDOT and our partners continue to urge the traveling public to use our roadways and infrastructure safely.

Additional information may be found online:

https://www.mass.gov/info-details/learn-about-speed-management

https://www.transportation.gov/NRSS/SafeSystem

https://www.mass.gov/news/governor-baker-signs-legislation-requiring-hands-free-use-of-electronic-devices-while-driving

 

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Media Contact for MassDOT Safety Advisory: Drive Slower, Drive Hands-Free, “Look Twice to save a Life”, Wear A Seatbelt

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