The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data, for 2009 (the last year with full data), indicates that the number of total motor vehicle deaths in Massachusetts was 334. Of those, 280 people were occupants; 54% of the occupants’ deaths were in car accidents, 23% in “light trucks” and 19% were deaths to motorcycle passengers. The highest number by county was 66 in Middlesex County, 42 in Worcester County, 37 in Bristol County, 33 in both Norfolk and Essex County, 25 in Plymouth County, and 21 in Suffolk County.
NHTSA rates for Massachusetts motor vehicle deaths were down 24% in 2009 compared to the previous 15 years. With respect to pedestrian fatality rates, compared to other states, we are ranked 42nd with 48 pedestrian deaths, a 0.73% rate, per 100,000 population.
In fact, the trend in most categories is down; the number of fatalities in 1994 was 440 and the rate per 100,000 was 7.3; in 2009 the rate per 100,000 was 5.07. The number of cars involved in fatal crashes in 1994 was 371; in 2009 it was 216; with respect to the number of light trucks, the rate went from 143 to 136; for large trucks the rate went from 41 almost in half to 21; unfortunately, for motorcycles, the rate went from 30 up to 54. This may be a function of the renewed popularity of motorcycles among the baby boomers.