The Massachusetts roadway fatality rate doubled in April, part of what officials described as a "disturbing trend" of more reckless driving on streets where congestion has evaporated during the pandemic.

Department of Transportation leaders convened a virtual press conference Monday to broadcast warnings about the deadly crashes and dangers on the roadways. Last month, they said, 28 people died in crashes, one more than the 27 that died in April 2019 despite 50 percent less traffic.

Highway Administrator Jonathan Gulliver told reporters that investigators believe speed or distraction were involved in most of the fatal crashes. While the data are preliminary, Gulliver said officials believe more motorists are driving unsafely because they are now "seeing an open road."

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