Over the past couple of years, driving fatalities are on the upswing, and unfortunately Massachusetts is no exception.

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT) recently put out a press release highlight the increase in deaths and the dangers we face while driving.

Female Driver Making Phone Call After Traffic Accident Sat Against Car.
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According to this report, there were more than 400 deaths on Massachusetts roads in 2021.  This is the highest it’s been in 11 years, and it’s 22% higher than in 2020.  And, sadly, looking at trends for 2022, the problem doesn’t seem to be getting better.

It’s not just here in Massachusetts.  Across the country, roadway fatalities are on the rise, with over 42,000 people killed in 2021.  It’s a shocking and sobering number to read.  Just imagine the entire population of Pittsfield wiped out in one year due to traffic accidents.  I usually prefer driving compared to other methods of travel, but these stats make me re-think my stance.

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So, now that it’s established that traffic accidents and fatalities are on the rise, how can we help prevent them?  According to the MassDOT, some of the steps we can take are:

-Be extra careful about pedestrians.  This includes watching your speed through populated areas.  According to the MassDOT, a pedestrian hit by a car going 20mph has a 13% chance of being killed or seriously injured, but a pedestrian hit by a car going 40mph has a 73% chance of being killed or seriously injured.  The numbers go up from there as you can imagine.

-Don’t be distracted.  I don’t know how many times this has to be hammered into our heads, but it’s not worth texting while driving.  Pull over or don’t text.  It’s that simple, and it will cut down on fatalities.

-Seatbelts.  It’s cliché but true…seatbelts save lives.  According to the MassDOT, if you wear your seatbelt in the passenger seat, you limit your chances of being seriously injured or killed by 50%.  Wear it.

-Be wary of motorcycles.  The MassDOT says motorcycle deaths are at a 25-year high.  That’s partly due to collisions with other vehicles, but also partly due to negligence.  Over 40% of crashes were single vehicle accidents.  Yes, drivers must be aware, but motorcyclists can’t drive like maniacs either.

Fragmented windshield of a passenger car after a traffic accident
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The MassDOT is also working on a program called Safe System Approach.  You can find more information on it here, as well as the full press release.

The bottom line is this:  accidents happen, but if we’re all a little more careful, and a little more vigilant, we can prevent many of them, and make our roadways safer for everyone.

LOOK: See how much gasoline cost the year you started driving

To find out more about how has the price of gas changed throughout the years, Stacker ran the numbers on the cost of a gallon of gasoline for each of the last 84 years. Using data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (released in April 2020), we analyzed the average price for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline from 1976 to 2020 along with the Consumer Price Index (CPI) for unleaded regular gasoline from 1937 to 1976, including the absolute and inflation-adjusted prices for each year.

Read on to explore the cost of gas over time and rediscover just how much a gallon was when you first started driving.