Boston isn’t known for its wonderful drivers. Though supercities New York and Chicago are more infamous for their hostile streets, Massachusetts drivers know that things can still get heated. But how does the cradle of liberty fare compared with other big cities?
How Many Accidents Happen in Boston Each Year?
Car accidents in Boston are generally increasing. This may be because more people are driving in the city, but it also might reflect a concerning trend in distracted or intoxicated driving.
Highway authorities reported 3,955 accidents in 2012 and 4,432 accidents in 2019, though not every year saw an increase. From 2016 to 2020, an average of 2689 accidents per year resulted in serious injuries requiring medical care.
Between 2019 and 2022, fatalities in the immediate Boston metropolitan area averaged around 14 per year. Accounting for minor suburbs, these numbers were about 30% higher.
How Do Boston Accident Statistics Compare to those Elsewhere?
With no frame of reference, it’s hard to make sense of Boston’s crash statistics. Do these injury and death rates represent a terrifying trend toward unacceptable danger, or are they normal given the size of the city?
As it turns out, Boston isn’t the best place to drive, at least as far as your chances of getting into an accident are concerned. Massachusetts’ famed interstate 93 ranks only third among the U.S. roads in which the most accidents occur.
Years Between Collisions
Similarly abysmal is Boston’s average “years between collisions.” Insurance companies use this metric to calculate monthly payments, so they keep careful records for each city. Where the national average tends to hover around 18 years, the average driver in Boston gets in an accident involving an insurance claim every 4.89 years, making it among the worst cities in the U.S. to drive in.
Statistically, more than one person dies in a traffic incident every month in the metropolitan area. This might not sound like much compared with New York City’s 16 to 20, but New York’s land area is much larger, and its greater metropolitan area encompasses many more people.
Though rankings vary, Boston’s fatality rate falls somewhere in the middle of all American cities. It isn’t the best, but it’s far from the worst.
Interestingly, Massachusetts is frequently ranked as the safest U.S. state to drive in. Approximately 450 people die every year in car accidents, which comes out to just .048 fatalities per 1,000 drivers. Compared with Louisiana or South Dakota, both at .158, the Codfish state is a considerably better place to commute or travel.
Massachusetts has earned a worldwide reputation for its enthusiastic alcohol consumers, thanks to its St. Patty’s day celebrations. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise, then, that a greater-than-average number of residents seem to drive under the influence.
States tend to keep better data on alcohol-related incidents than cities, but Massachusetts is relatively small, and these broader statistics can say much about Boston itself.
Statewide, about 83% of drivers killed in traffic incidents have alcohol in their blood. 32% have a blood alcohol content above the legal limit, or .08. Compared with other states, Massachusetts appears to have a relatively high proportion of drivers who drive under the influence and a low to average proportion who drive well over the legal limit.
In Hawaii and Alaska, for reference, 97% and 96% of drivers killed in accidents have alcohol in their bodies. In Mississippi, only 9% did. In Rhode Island, a shocking 50 percent of drivers killed in a collision had consumed a large amount of alcohol, where only 18% had in Utah.
Where Are the Most Dangerous Roadways in Boston?
Naturally, some parts of the city are safer to drive in than others. Avoiding the most dangerous areas can keep you considerably safer than the average driver.
According to a popular Boston radio blog, the most feared places, if not the most hazardous, are the traffic rotaries that follow the interstate and main arteries.
But the worst places to be, statistically, are those in which drunk drivers are likely to travel at high speeds. In other words, the aforementioned arteries.
- Route 24
- Route 3
- Route 128
- Interstate 93
- Massachusetts Turnpike
What Are the Most Common Causes of Wrongful Accidents in Boston?
While drunk driving is surely to blame for a large portion of non-fatal Boston accidents, intoxication isn’t the only reason serious events happen. Other irresponsible behavior can be similarly hazardous.
Since the advent of smartphones, roadway authorities have struggled to keep drivers’ eyes on the road. A single text can leave a motorist traveling dozens or even hundreds of feet without seeing the path before them.
In the first part of 2022, Massachusetts highway authorities reported that 2,400 out of 65,000 accidents involved one party who was talking on, texting on, or otherwise using a cell phone.
No matter how urgent a text, email, or phone call is, it’s no excuse to stop paying attention. Distracted driving is a sign of negligence, and it can show fault in a legal case.
Faulty Brakes or Other Parts
Statewide inspections are designed to catch faulty parts before they cause a catastrophic failure on the highway. When failures do happen, it’s frequently because the vehicle in question wasn’t properly inspected or maintained.
When drivers fail to maintain their vehicles, it’s a sign that they don’t respect their responsibility to take care of others on the road.
Some drivers simply don’t appreciate the risks of being in a motor vehicle. Stressed commuters and other hurried travelers often run red lights or stop signs in an attempt to reach their destinations faster. Unfortunately, this behavior can dramatically increase the risk of a mishap.
Drivers who take such risks are acting irresponsibly, and their victims are entitled to compensation.
Poor Road Conditions
Occasionally, roadways themselves are responsible for accidents. Boston is among the nation’s oldest cities, and it’s also among the most confusing to drive in. Lost drivers making hasty decisions are more likely to miss potholes or other crumbling infrastructure.
Icy spots, confusing signage, and unexpected bumps also contribute to the chance of a mishap or collision. Though it can be an uphill battle, wrongly victimized motorists sometimes successfully sue city authorities.
Sometimes, simple poor judgment is to blame for a collision. Motorists crossing without signaling, stopping late, failing to heed signage, or misunderstanding the right of way can all cause serious damage. Because every driver is responsible for knowing and obeying the rules of the road, even simple errors can be signs of negligence.
When Should I Hire An Accident Attorney?
Driving in the Boston metropolitan area is a confusing paradox. It’s often ranked among the worst places to drive, but Massachusetts is among the safest. What does this mean for you? Very little, if you’ve already had an accident.
If you’ve been seriously injured in a Boston accident, you likely have a lot to think about. Between dealing with insurers, medical providers, and concerned family members, gathering evidence against a negligent party is likely the last thing on your mind. At Jason Stone Injury Lawyers, we take the burden off your shoulders, so you can focus on recovery. Call today for a free consultation.