Recently, a 65-year old Athol man suffered fatal injuries following a motorcycle crash on Northfield Road in Warwick, Massachusetts. His wife, a passenger, was seriously injured but was recovering at UMass Memorial. Authorities stated it was a single vehicle accident but were unable to confirm the cause of the accident. Apparently, they have not ruled out the possibility that another vehicle was involved that left the scene of the accident or that some road or mechanical defect contributed to the accident.
If there is anything positive to be said about the pandemic, it might be that at least one study is touting the substantial decrease in traffic crashes and fatalities in Massachusetts and other states since mid-March of this year. AutoinsuranceEZ, a company that studies and publishes information for consumers on insurance companies, released a study showing that numerous cities and states have reported dramatic reductions in overall crashes and fatalities. According to the authors, Seattle has experienced a 100% drop in fatal accidents, Massachusetts a 75% decrease, and Los Angeles a decline of 51%.
A recent fatal car accident on Topsfield Road in Ipswich, Massachusetts highlighted the dangers of texting and driving when a 43-year old woman who was using her smartphone struck and killed a 58-year old bicyclist and injured the cyclist’s wife and 19-year old son who were riding with him. The woman was cited for vehicular homicide by negligent operation; a marked lane violation; and for composing, sending, and reading an electronic message. Massachusetts had passed a law banning all use of hand-held devices last year that became effective on February 23, 2020, though officers were only issuing warnings through April 1.
The pandemic and state-wide lockdown has resulted in a 50% decrease in traffic throughout Massachusetts. With fewer cars on the freeways and other roadways, our skies are clearing up and pollution levels are dropping. Unfortunately, traffic fatalities are not decreasing as drivers see an opportunity to race down previously congested roads with the expectation that law enforcement has eased up on patrols.
In April of this year, another tragic accident occurred on Massachusetts Avenue at its intersection with Harrison, just across from Boston Medical Center when a tractor-trailer struck and killed a bicyclist who was apparently walking his bike through the intersection when he was struck. There are traffic lights at this intersection and reports did not indicate if the cyclist was crossing on a green light or if he was struck while walking in the same direction as the truck.