SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (WWLP) – Summer is just around the corner and that typically comes with a rise in traffic deaths.
Summer weekends are the envy of the rest of the calendar… free time and late sunlight providing perfect opportunities to relax or get out in search of adventure. However, those same circumstances also add up to more dangerous roads and sidewalks, with more people out and about that may be distracted.
“We still need people who are in vehicular traffic, drivers to pay attention and follow the rules of the road. Just because there is a crosswalk down and the light is blinking for you to walk doesn’t mean that car is going to stop,” said Springfield Mayor Domenic Sarno.
Crash data analysis from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety showed deadly crashes for drivers and pedestrians are highest on weekends in the summer and fall. They looked through federal crash data from 1998 through 2014 and found an average of 139 deaths on Saturdays, compared to just 89 on Tuesdays.
Timing mattered as well, the highest number of deaths happening between 3:00 and 7:00 in the evening, with the least numbers of death between 3:00 to 6:00 in the morning.
Pedestrians killed in car crashes comprised of 12 percent of all traffic deaths during the study period and have reached all-time highs in the years since. However, there are ways cities and towns can increase safety for walkers. It can even be as simple as adding a sidewalk, 67 percent of deadly pedestrian crashes in 2020 happened where there was no sidewalk.
“All the stuff we are doing now is safety oriented. Any time we are doing roadway work or anything else… sidewalks, bike lanes, pedestrians… we are really trying to figure out how to get as many cars as we have in the city working with the pedestrians and bicyclists to create as much safe corridors as we can,” said Springfield DPW Director Chris Cignoli.