Travel experts explain why fatal crashes are on the rise in western Mass.

There have been five deadly accidents in just five days across western Massachusetts, killing a total of seven people.
Published: Aug. 3, 2022 at 10:23 PM EDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - There have been five deadly accidents in just five days across western Massachusetts, killing a total of seven people.

Western Mass News took those alarming numbers to the experts to learn more about this recent uptick.

Although there is no common cause for all five of those crashes, AAA told us that they have seen a lot more speeding and distracted driving on the roads since the COVID-19 pandemic.

In just five days, seven people were killed in serious car accidents across western Massachusetts.

The first was at an intersection on Memorial Drive in Chicopee this past Friday. A mother and son were killed in that accident.

Then, another crash occurred that same day on Interstate 391, killing a motorcyclist.

In Granby on Sunday, one person was killed in a crash on Amherst Road.

Tuesday, two pedestrians were killed on Northampton Street in Easthampton.

A day later on Wednesday, one more person died on Route 202 in Holyoke.

AAA’s Senior Manager of Traffic Safety, John Paul, told Western Mass News that he is seeing deadly accidents like this across the state. He also added that there has been an uptick since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The roads didn’t look quite as crowded,” Paul said. “I think people were looking at that as a good excuse to speed.”

He said that he has seen both speeding and distracted driving increase.

Paul attributed it to the effects of working remotely, with people working from home and multitasking during the pandemic trying to continue those multitasking habits while driving.

“As people are trying to get into a little bit more normal, they are juggling more tasks than they used to,” Paul said.

According to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation, dangerous car crashes are on the rise.

In 2021, there were 422 fatal car crashes. That number is higher than in the year 2020 when there were 343, and in 2019 when there were 336.

Senator Ed Markey sent Western Mass News a statement, reacting to the recent uptick in deadly car accidents across the country. It reads, quote:

“We cannot take a back seat when it comes to safety. The rising rate of car collisions that are fatal to drivers, passengers, and pedestrians is deeply concerning. The federal government must shift gears and respond decisively to this crisis by issuing life-saving safety regulations and ensuring that protections on the books today are fit for the cars and technology of the present — not the past.”

Paul told us drivers should put down their phones and focus on the road. He said that they should also be preparing for what might go wrong on the roads as they drive.

“Look in your side mirrors, look in your rear mirrors, look and pay attention to the other vehicles on the road,” he said.

The causes of these crashes remain under investigation.