How Safe Are Pedestrians in Massachusetts?
My wife watched someone almost get run over at Wal-Mart yesterday.
Mariann was in the parking lot of the North Adams Wal-Mart, and she saw someone walking towards the store. At that moment, a car started to back out as this person walked behind it. The car didn’t notice them. The person banged on the back windshield and got out of the way in time, but the driver was oblivious to the whole thing, and proceeded to drive away. My wife checked if the person was ok, who thankfully was. But it could’ve obviously been much worse.
According to mass.gov, Massachusetts has averaged about 70 pedestrian fatalities a year for the past five years (2017-2021). There was a dip in 2020 due to the stay-at-home orders, but sadly the percentage and number of pedestrians killed is back to pre-pandemic levels. The Mass DoT says there were 1,520 motor vehicle accidents in 2021 involving pedestrians. Keep in mind, those are the ones reported…I’m guessing the one my wife saw in Wal-Mart wasn’t reported. The majority of pedestrian injuries and fatalities also occur between 5pm and 10pm at night, especially during the fall and winter months with dark driving conditions.
Accidents are most common around drive ways and parking lots, so be extra careful. In addition, some good rules of thumb about crossing the street include:
Make eye contact with the driver who’s supposed to stop for you
Don’t be distracted with texting
Don’t cross in front of large trucks if possible, the grill might block you from their view
Just because you have the right of way, don’t assume a vehicle will stop for you!
Thankfully, Massachusetts ranks low on the pedestrian fatality rate, ranking at number 37 out of all 50 states in the most recent study done by the NHTSA.
Accidents happen, of course, but if we’re all just a little more careful, both as drivers and pedestrians, hopefully we can rank even lower on that list in the coming years. And be careful backing up in parking lots.
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