These Deadly Tragedies Are Still On The Rise In Massachusetts
I have some troubling statistics to share with you, Berkshire County. And I say "troubling" because, for a number of years, the number of these deadly accidents were decreasing.
However, starting approximately two-and-a-half years ago, those numbers started rising again. What am I referring to? Pedestrian fatalities. The numbers continue to rise not only in Massachusetts but across the country.
Just this week alone, Chicopee(located in Hampden County which is also a part of Western Massachusetts) saw two pedestrian deaths in separate incidents one of which was a hit-and-run.
Of course, there are several reasons why pedestrians are struck and seriously injured (or worse) by a vehicle. Everything from vehicle drivers not paying attention whether looking down at their phones or what have you to drivers operating a vehicle while under the influence of alcohol or drugs.
Also, this time of year with the time change, the fact that it gets dark earlier in the day is another factor, believe it or not. And then, of course, bad weather plays a part, too. You can bet if there's a severe weather event happening, there will increased risk for potential pedestrian injuries or fatalities.
The main reason that pedestrians are often hit by vehicles though is speed. Speed is also the biggest deciding factor in whether a struck pedestrian lives or dies, according to AAA.
Also, according to estimates from the Governors Highway Safety Association, in 2021, drivers killed just under 7,500 pedestrians. That's the highest number in 40 years. This year so far, in Massachusetts alone, approximately 1,800 pedestrian-related crashes have been reported with over 85 of them resulting in fatalities.
Needless to say, AAA along with local and state law enforcement, are urging pedestrians to be cautious, aware of their surroundings, and always on alert. Berkshire County, to quote Sgt. Esterhaus on TV's Hill Street Blues: "Let's be careful out there."