Number of Fatal and Non-fatal injuries From Traffic Accidents, Number of Traffic Accidents
Traffic accidents refer to incidents of vehicular crashes reported to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation (MassDOT). Accidents include collisions between vehicles as well as incidents where property, pedestrians, or cyclists were struck.
Why does tracking traffic accidents matter?
Traffic safety–both real and perceived–significantly impacts a city’s quality of life, particularly in regions like the SouthCoast where an overwhelming majority of residents conduct most of their travel by car. Traffic accidents affect the health and well-being of drivers and non-drivers alike, and in communities where the rate of traffic accidents is high, people may be discouraged from traveling on foot or on bike, modes that otherwise promote public health and reduce vehicular emissions and traffic congestion (which further promotes traffic safety).
How do we measure traffic accidents?
Data on traffic accidents is aggregated from crash databases maintained and made publicly available by MassDOT. We measure the degree to which traffic accidents affect SouthCoast cities by measuring across three areas: number of crashes, injuries and fatalities, and involvement of pedestrians or bicyclists.
Specifically, we look at the number of crashes by measuring the total number in 2010 (the most recent year for which data is available), the change in number over time (since 1990), and the most dangerous intersections based on state-level rankings.
Additionally, we look at 2008-10 data to determine the degree to which traffic accidents resulted in injuries and fatalities. Finally, we use MassDOT’s data to measure the number of accidents that involved pedestrians or cyclists.
How is Fall River doing?
1. Number of Traffic Accidents: 2,760 (2017)
There was a total of 2,760 traffic accidents in Fall River in 2017. The incidence of Fall River accidents has decreased by 0.07 percent since 2016 and decreased 38.5 percent since first being tracked by SCUIP in 1990.
Source: MassDOT’s Annual Crash Report
2. Most Dangerous Roadway: Plymouth Avenue (2017)
The roadway in Fall River where the greatest amount of traffic accidents occurred in 2017 was Plymouth Avenue. Out of the 95 accidents that were recorded on this road, 68 resulted in property damage only, 23 resulted in non-fatal injuries, and 0 resulted in fatal injuries. Also, injury data for 4 out of these 95 accidents were unreported or unknown.
3. Number of Fatal Injuries From Traffic Accidents: 5 (2017)
Out of the 2,760 traffic accidents that occurred in Fall River during 2017, 5 resulted in fatal injuries. Additionally, injuries from 201 of the accidents remain either unreported or unknown.
4. Number of Non-fatal Injuries From Traffic Accidents: 695 (2017)
Out of all traffic accidents in Fall River during 2017, 695 (25.2%) resulted in non-fatal injuries. Additionally, injuries from 201 of the accidents remain either unreported or unknown.
How is New Bedford doing?
1. Number of Accidents: 3,656 (2017)
There was a total of 3,656 traffic accidents in New Bedford in 2017. The incidence of New Bedford accidents has increased by 16.0 percent since 2016 and decreased 11.3 percent since first being tracked by SCUIP in 1990.
Source: MassDOT’s Annual Crash Report
2. Most Dangerous Roadway: Acushnet Avenue (2017)
The roadway in New Bedford where the greatest amount of traffic accidents occurred in 2017 was Acushnet Avenue. Out of the 122 accidents that were recorded on this road, 83 resulted in property damage only, 22 resulted in non-fatal injuries, and 0 resulted in fatal injuries. Also, injury data for 17 out of these 122 accidents were unreported or unknown.
3. Number of Fatal Injuries From Traffic Accidents: 2 (2017)
Out of the 3,656 traffic accidents that occurred in New Bedford during 2017, 2 resulted in fatal injuries. Additionally, injuries from 411 of the accidents remain either unreported or unknown.
4. Number of Non-fatal Injuries From Traffic Accidents: 886 (2017)
Out of all traffic accidents in New Bedford during 2017, 886 (24.2%) resulted in non-fatal injuries. Additionally, injuries from 411 of the accidents remain either unreported or unknown.
What’s being done to address traffic accidents, and where may I learn more?
Do you know of any effective programs aimed at reducing traffic accidents? Let us know!
Efforts to reduce traffic accidents
The regional planning agency for the SouthCoast, SRPEDD, studies traffic accident data and identifies opportunities to redesign streets and intersections to promote driver, pedestrian, and cyclist safety. Their reports, many of which include recommended action, can be found at this link.
In fact, SRPEDD studied the Plymouth Avenue/Rodman Street intersection, producing this report and recommending changes to reduce accidents. This study has resulted in action, with state-funded improvements to the road, curbs, and traffic signals along Plymouth Avenue currently underway.
MassDOT conducted a road safety audit of New Bedford’s most dangerous intersection in 2010. Read the report here. The intersection is also slated for a state-funded reconfiguration in 2014; read more in this Standard Times article.
Efforts to improve pedestrian safety
WalkBoston advocates for improving the walkability of cities and towns in Greater Boston. Their website includes great resources for those seeking to improve pedestrian-friendliness in their own communities.
Efforts to improve cyclist safety
A number of organizations work to promote the safety of cyclists through advocacy and the dissemination of best practices. These include Bikes Belong and the League of American Bicyclists, among others.
Locally, the Fall River Bike Committee advocates for making the city more cyclist-friendly, and they also organize bike rides to promote biking in the region. And the New Bedford Bicycle Committee meets monthly to discuss ways to improve bike-friendliness in the city. They also organize group rides in the city and throughout the region to promote awareness and encourage more people to get around the city on bike. Visit their website for links to more resources for cyclists, including where to buy and tune bikes and where to find a bike rack in New Bedford
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Data sources and methods
(1) MassDOT’s Annual Crash Report
Page last updated by R.S. on 01/09/2020