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.


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:




Two Silver Line buses pass each other on the dedicated busway in Chelsea. Photo courtesy of the MBTA.

MBTA Will Reduce Service in Response to COVID-19

The MBTA has announced that it will reduce subway, bus, and commuter rail services effective Tuesday, March 17 in an effort to reduce the risks of COVID-19 exposure to its employees and riders. In a press statement, MBTA General Manager Steve Poftak wrote that “the MBTA plays an important role in slowing the spread of […]
City of Boston planner Lindiwe Rennert (center) discusses the city's plans to set aside dedicated bus lanes for Blue Hill Avenue, home to the state's busiest bus route, at a project open house on Thursday, March 5, 2020.

‘Public Process’ Without Public Meetings

As cities and towns across Massachusetts embrace increasingly strict “social distancing” measures to try and slow the spread of COVID-19, hundreds of public meetings across the state are being cancelled and major public planning initiatives have been put on hold while governments scramble to address the mounting public health crisis. Spring is typically a busy […]