Preliminary Data Show Slight Decline In Motor Vehicle Killings For 2019

The Commonwealth's car-centered transportation system still exacted a brutally high body count, with 339 lives lost across the state.

The aftermath of a truck crash on I-290 in Worcester.
The aftermath of a truck crash on I-290 in Worcester.

Fewer people died on the Commonwealth’s streets in 2019 compared to 2018, but motor vehicles still exacted a brutally high body count, with 339 lives lost in crashes across the state.

Data from MassDOT’s IMPACT crash data portal show that cars claimed fewer lives in 2019 than in any other year since 2015, but it’s impossible to determine whether that’s from an actual trend towards safer streets, or whether the decline in killings for the past year was just a lucky fluke. Across the state as a whole, most crash victims were other motor vehicle users.

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But in the core cities of the Boston region – Boston, Cambridge, Somerville, Chelsea, and Everett – the majority of crash victims were people who were walking when a driver ended their lives.

Those casualties included Marilyn Wentworth, 66, a mother of two and lifelong resident of West Roxbury who was killed while walking across Centre Street in February; Sharon Hamer, 67, a retired Boston Public Schools librarian, who was killed by a truck driver while she was walking in Harvard Square; and Somerville residents Cheryl Pauline Richards, 52, and Kevin Dumont, 68, who were both killed by hit-and-run drivers along Mystic Avenue this summer.

Crash data for the municipalities in the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, which covers 101 municipalities in the greater Boston region, show even more variability over the past 5 years, in spite of Vision Zero policies that have been adopted in the region’s core cities:

 

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